Friday, May 25, 2012

Four Cheese Pasta

I love cheesy pasta but I don't always want to spend the time making a roux to make a cheese sauce. Sometimes, it's just easier to toss the pasta in cheese and let the heat of the pasta melt the cheese. That's where this recipe comes from. It's a cheese and carb overload but it's really delicious and easy to make.

Ingredients [serves 4 to 6]:
1 lb angel hair pasta (or any pasta you like)
1/4 lb Fontina cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup grated Asiago cheese
1/4 cup farmer's cheese
1/2 cup cream (or milk)
3 tablespoons butter
salt and pepper

**You can use any combination of cheese that you like but I like the mildness of the Fontina, the saltiness of the Italian cheese, and the creaminess of the farmer's cheese. You could use Gouda or Swiss instead of Fontina and goat cheese instead of the farmer's cheese for a bit more bite; it's really up to your preference.
Start by heating the cream in a saucepan and getting a pot of water boiling for the pasta. Angelhair is really thin and delicate so it only takes 4 minutes to cook. Don't forget to salt the water before adding the pasta.

While that's working, prepare the cheeses. Fontina
Don't forget to reserve a big of pasta water before you drain it! This is just in case the pasta gets too tight and you need some more moisture.
Once the pasta's cooked (al dente, of course), add in the cream and butter and toss together until the butter melts and all of the noodles are moistened by the cream. It should look slightly soupy. Then add in the cheese and toss quickly to make sure it gets evenly distributed when it melts. Then put in plenty of fresh cracked pepper and give it one last toss. It should look glossy and beautiful.
Serve immediately, otherwise the cheese will set up and congeal and the pasta will stick together and look like a brain.
Since this dish is so heavy and rich, I like to serve it with a nice and light tomato salad. Easy: just halve or quarter some really sweet grape tomatoes and toss with roughly chopped basil, minced garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper. FAST.

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