Baked Penne and Fontina Cheese

Baked Penne and Fontina Cheese
1 pound ziti or your favorite short pasta                          
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided                               
1 cup heavy cream                                                                 
1 cup buttermilk                                           
2 cups shredded Italian Fontina cheese                             
Salt and black pepper to taste
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 – 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or Romano cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 350F. Buttered a deep baking dish.

Cook the pasta according to package directions, less 3 minutes of al dente. The pasta is going to continue to cook in the oven, so you don’t want to overcook it. Drain and set aside.

Cut 5 tablespoons of the butter into tablespoon portions. Cut the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter into 1/2 inch cubes.

Warm the cream and buttermilk in a small pan, then cover and set aside to keep warm.

Stir the pasta with the 5 tablespoons of butter in a large bowl. Pour in the warm cream and buttermilk, and fold in the Fontina until it starts to melt. Add the grated nutmeg, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Spread the pasta mixture into the buttered baking dish. Top with breadcrumbs and grated cheese. Top with 3 tablespoons of cubed butter over the top. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the top is slightly browned. Sprinkle fresh parsley over the top, and serve hot.

Fontina Cheese is an Italian cheese produced in Valle d'Aosta, Italy, surrounded by the Alps. It is a medium hard cheese made from cow's milk. It is a cheese that can be eaten on its own, or paired with melons, apricots, cherries, apples or pears. It is also a cheese that melts easily and used for many baked pasta or vegetable dishes. It has a mild delicate flavor with a delicate nuttiness and a hint of mild honey. When melted the flavor is earthy with a taste of mushrooms.


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