As I mentiond in my last post, I went on a cooking-and-freezing spree before my son was born so that we'd have plenty of food to eat during our first few weeks as new parents. I picked this recipe because it looked like a good candidate for freezing.
This rich, creamy cheesy casserole is all about the sauce. First I made a roux of butter and flour. Then I whisked in some whole milk and the juice from a can of tomatoes. I added the canned tomatoes (which I had finely chopped) and some salt and pepper, and whisked the sauce until it had thickened.
While the sauce was cooking, I cooked and drained some bow-tie pasta Then I mixed the pasta with the sauce, some grated mozzarella (that's one cheese), crumbled Gorgonzola (that's two cheeses), diced Fontina (that's three cheeses), and grated pecorino Romano (that's four ... four cheeses! Mwah-ha-ha-ha!). Finally, I added some choppd parsley.
The Book says to put the pasta mixture into a three- to four-quart gratin dish. I wanted to make at least two meals out of this, so I divided it into two eight-inch disposable foil baking dishes. I topped each with some more grated Romano before wrapping each dish tightly in heavy-duty foil and plastic wrap and putting them in the freezer.
A few days after we got home, I pulled one of the casseroles out of the frezer and put it into a 350-degree oven to cook. Even though I took it out of the freezer the morning that we were going to eat it, it was still pretty well frozen at dinner time. As a result, it took almost two hours to cook. For the next one, I'll take it out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator the night before.
This casserole was delicious. The sauce was rich and creamy and cheesy. The combintion of the four cheeses was excellent, and I could sense notes of each in every bite. The tang of the Gorgonzola and the salty bite of the Romano were nicely balanced by the mild creaminess of the mozzarella and Fontina. I always love baked pasta dishes because of the way the elements meld together and there's also that great crispy top!
The best part of this dish is that I still have another casserole in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed.
Date Cooked: December 27, 2008
Degree of Difficulty: Medium
2 years ago