5 CHEESE PASTA adapted from Red Drummond serves 8
1 pound fusilli or similar type pasta
6 slices thick-cut bacon, diced
1 tablespoon chopped FRESH thyme
1 large shallot, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, FINELY minced
1/2 cup white wine
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup White Cheddar cheese
1/2 cup grated Romano cheese
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
FRESH ground black pepper
1 cup mozzarella balls, halved
3 green onions, sliced thin
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
- Add the fusilli and cook for 1 to 2 minutes less than the package instructions.
- Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain and set aside.
- Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet over medium heat until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. With a slotted spoon remove to a paper towel-lined plate and remove all but 2 tablespoons of the grease from the skillet.
- Add the thyme, shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the wine and cook until mostly evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes.
- Add the cream and heat until bubbly, 30 seconds.
- Gradually add the Fontina, cheddar, Romano and Gruyère in handfuls, letting each combine with the cream before adding the next.
- Add the pasta to the skillet along with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss everything together, thinning with the reserved pasta water if needed.
- Divide the pasta into lightly sprayed with non stick cooking spray individual gratin dishes or 1 baking dish.
- Place casserole on a baking sheet.
- Divide the mozzarella pearls over the top of the pasta.
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to broil.
- Broil 3-4 minutes on the center rack until the mozzarella pearls are brown and the pasta is bubbling.
- Remove and garnish with the cooked bacon and sliced green onions.