Penne Baked With Four Cheeses

Penne ai Quattro Formaggi

Pasta and cheese is an inspired combination with a wide appeal and everyone seems to have their favorite concoction. I like this particular combination of cheeses because of how they balance each other. The pronounced flavor of the gorgonzola, the richness of fontina, the savoriness of parmigiano-reggiano, and the delicate creaminess of mascarpone all complement each other very well and while the dish bakes the pasta absorbs all their flavors.

Total Time from Start to Finish: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • Salt
  • 1 pound penne
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces fontina, grated
  • 2 ounces gorgonzola, crumbled
  • 2 ounces mascarpone
  • cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, freshly grated
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 450°.
  2. Fill a pot for the pasta with about 6 quarts of water, cover, and place over high heat. When the water boils, add 2 tablespoons salt, add the penne, and stir well. Cook until very al dente.
  3. Put the butter and cream in a saucepan over low heat. When the butter has melted add all the cheeses holding back 2 tablespoons. of the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stir constantly until the cheeses have melted. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.
  4. When the pasta is done, drain well, toss with the sauce in a bowl.
  5. Transfer the pasta to individual bake-and-serve dishes or an oven-proof casserole large enough to accommodate the pasta no more than 1 ½-inches deep. Sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano over the pasta and bake until the top becomes golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the dish to rest about 5 minutes before serving.

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