Sunday, February 13, 2011

Kid food for grownups

Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner (Cooking Light)

Cooking Light is one of my favorite magazines. Their content is more than just recipes--they also share timely information on health and beauty products, exercise, and travel. But, I'll be honest, I buy it for the food.

A little over a year ago Cooking Light changed their format. Every recipe is now accompanied with a color photograph--each issue of my favorite magazine now looks like a beautiful cookbook.

Today the weather is cold and blustery and I'm seriously in need of some comfort food. In November 2008 Cooking Light published a recipe entitled "Fontina and Mascapone Baked Pasta". Just look at that amazing photo--creamy pasta covered with a crunchy topping of buttery-garlicky breadcrumbs. Seriously, can it get any better than that?

(Note: To the uninitiated, fontina tends to be a "smelly" cheese. It's a semi-soft Italian cheese made from cows milk. If you find it difficult to grate, place it in the freezer for about half an hour--problem solved.)


  • 1  pound  uncooked penne
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour (about 1 ounce)
  • 3  cups  fat-free milk
  • 2  cups  (8 ounces) shredded fontina cheese
  • 1/4  cup  (2 ounces) mascarpone cheese
  • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
  • 1/4  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • 3  (1-ounce) slices white bread
  • 1  tablespoon  butter
  • 1  small garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2  tablespoons  chopped fresh parsley


Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; keep warm.
Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly with a whisk. Remove from heat; add cheeses, stirring with a whisk until smooth. Stir in salt and black pepper. Add cooked pasta, stirring to coat. Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

Tear bread into several pieces. Place bread in a food processor; process until fine crumbs measure 1 1/2 cups.

Melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add garlic; cook 30 seconds. Remove from heat. Stir in breadcrumbs until well combined. Sprinkle breadcrumb mixture evenly over pasta mixture. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle with parsley.

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