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Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta

Every time I make Baked Tortellini with Spinach, I am left with 6 ounces of fontina cheese.  While I would happily make it 3 more times, I have also had this Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta dish on my list of things to make for some time now.   The first time I made this dish without mushrooms, and it was good, but I felt it needed something more.  It needed mushrooms.  Mushrooms are not typically my go-to for anything, but it really cried out for something earthy and meaty.  Sauteed in a little garlic, the mushrooms were the perfect addition to this dish.  I used some Parmesan cheese for some of the fontina in the original recipe to give the recipe a little more bite.  Topped with buttery, garlic breadcrumbs, Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta is a delicious and sophisticated twist on macaroni and cheese ~ perfect for company or Sunday dinner comfort food.

Looking to use up the leftover mascarpone cheese?  Try Porcini Mushroom and Spinach Risotto with Mascarpone

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta
 
Yields: 8 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 pound medium pasta shells, uncooked (penne or other similar shaped pasta works too)
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups skim milk
  • 1¾ cups (6 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms (I use baby bellas)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Cooking spray
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon butter (I use light butter)
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and keep warm.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Combine flour and milk in a large sauce pan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a whisk, and cook for about 10 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken.
  4. Meanwhile, in a nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray, saute mushrooms, with a pinch of salt, until softened (about 5 to 7 minutes). Add 1 clove of minced garlic in the last minute, if desired.
  5. Remove milk mixture from heat and add cheeses, whisking until mixture is smooth. Add salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Add cooked pasta and mushrooms, stirring to coat and combine.
  7. Spray a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray and pour pasta mixture into pan.
  8. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Remove from heat and add breadcrumbs, stirring to coat. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over pasta mixture.
  9. Bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Adapted from Cooking Light, November, 2006