Sunday, August 22, 2010

Baked Fusili Pasta with Four Cheeses and Sun Dried Tomatoes

I love pasta, especially pasta in creamy sauces. They tend to be more satisfying and any dish that gives me an excuse to have a big slice of bread along with it is even better. My husband Brandon loves macaroni and cheese and I am always trying new techniques and recipes to find the perfect one. I made this for my husband, his father and his step mom and it was a major success. The variety of chesses gives it a nice flavor without having to add allot of other seasonings and the tomatoes add a little texture and a little Italian flavor. Pair this with some crusty bread and a light salad and you have the perfect meal.

This recipe, like most mac n cheese dishes, can be fairly quick to make. The trick is to start the sauce while your noodles are cooking. By doing this, both items end up being done just about the same time. Then all you have to do is blend the two together, place in a baking dish and cook until the topping is done, the sauce has thickened and the noodles are cooked until they are just right.

I like to make my cheesy pasta dishes with any kind of noodle that has twists or nooks to them, anything that gives the sauce an extra place to linger, so when you take a bite, you get that extra bit of flavor.

Baked Fusili Pasta with 4 Cheeses and Sun Dried Tomatoes

1 lb fusili pasta

4 tbs unsalted butter

4 tbs flour

½ cup sun dried tomatoes (the kind soaked in oil) drained and chopped

2 ½ cups milk – warm

1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese

2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded gruyere cheese

½ shredded parmesan or romano cheese

2 tbs Dijon mustard

½ tsp salt

1/8 tsp ground black pepper


Pre-heat oven to 375. For the noodles: Cook pasta in boiling, salted water until just slightly undercooked. Drain and set aside.
For the sauce: While the noodles are cooking - in a large measuring cup or bowl, heat milk in microwave for 2 minutes. In a medium size sauce pan melt butter and whisk in flour – cook 2 minutes. Whisk in milk until smooth. Add mustard, salt and pepper; whisk. Cook about 2 minutes or until mixture starts to thicken, mixture should coat spoon with a thin layer when inserted. If mixture seems too thick, slowly whisk in more milk a tablespoon at a time. Turn to low heat, add all cheeses except for the parmesan cheese and whisk. Cook until all cheese is melted and sauce is smooth and creamy – about 2 minutes. Pour sauce mixture into noodles, mix until blended, and spread into an oiled 13x9 baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and place in oven. Bake until cheese is melted, the edges of the dish are bubbling and the noodles are cooked through; about 10-12 minutes.

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