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Creamy Baked Four-Cheese Pasta

Category: Main Dishes
posted by: kfaulkn
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Ingredients:

For the topping:
½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp table salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper


For the pasta:
4 oz Italian fontina cheese, shredded (about 1 cup)
3 oz Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (about ¾ cup)
1 oz Pecorino Romano cheese, grated (about ½ cup)
½ oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about ¼ cup)
1 lb dry pasta shapes
2 tsp unsalted butter
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups heavy cream or half-and-half
¼ tsp table salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
Directions:

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Preheat the oven to 500° F.

2. In a medium bowl, stir the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, oregano, salt and pepper together; set aside. Add all of the cheese for the pasta to the bottom of a very large bowl; set aside. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water for 2 minutes under the recommended cooking time.

3. While the pasta cooks, in a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the the butter. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking around, for 30 seconds. Slowly pour in the cream or half-and-half while whisking until no lumps of flour remain. Bring the heat up to medium and stir until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken; simmer for 1 minute. Stir in the salt and pepper.

4. Drain the pasta for 5 seconds, pour it over the cheese in the bowl, then pour the sauce directly over the pasta - do not stir it in. Immediately cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and allow it to stand for 3 minutes. Remove the plastic wrap and stir all of the ingredients up, taking care to scoop up all of the cheese from the bottom of the bowl. Once the cheese has melted and is incorporated with the sauce, transfer the pasta to a 13x9-inch baking dish of a few smaller baking dishes. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs evenly over the pasta, pressing down lightly. Bake for 7 minutes, until the top is golden brown. Allow the dish to rest for 5 minutes before serving.

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