Sunday, April 10, 2011

Fontina Mac and Cheese

I love when out-of-state friends come to visit! My friend and her husband moved away a couple of years ago and I miss them bunches. Now they have an adorable little girl that I am lucky enough to call my Goddaughter. My friend and her daughter (who from here forward shall be known as Peanut) were recently in town for a visit. Peanut’s grandparents live close to my office and I often stop by after work when Peanut is around. This usually falls around dinnertime and Peanut’s grandparents are awesome about inviting me for dinner. This time I decided to bring a little something of my own. I forgot to take a picture before we started digging in but I think most people know what mac and cheese looks like. 

Fontina Mac and Cheese
recipe slightly adapted from Annie's Eats originally adapted from Ezra Pound Cake

1 pound cavatappi
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 cup heavy cream
12 ounces Fontina cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Pinch of grated nutmeg
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat the oven to 400° F. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta according to the package directions just until 1-2 minutes shy of al dente.

Meanwhile, dice 4 tablespoons of the butter and place in a large mixing bowl. Warm the cream in a small saucepan or the microwave. Cover to keep warm.

Once the pasta is cooked, add to the bowl with the butter and toss to coat well. Stir in the warm cream and the Fontina until the cheese starts to melt. Mix in Dijon mustard, salt to taste, and add the nutmeg.

Pour the mixture into a buttered 2-quart casserole dish. In a small bowl, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon of butter. Mix in the panko breadcrumbs and shredded Parmesan. Toss with a fork to coat evenly with the butter. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture evenly over the pasta in the baking dish.

Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the topping turns golden brown, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.