Baked Shells with Fontina and Parmesan Bread Crumbs
Serves 4 to 6
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 pound small shells
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 8 ounces (about 2 cups) Fontina cheese
- Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/3 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- Bring 4 quarts water to a boil in a large pot for cooking the pasta. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Use 1/2 tablespoon of the butter to grease a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, and set aside.
- Dice 4 tablespoons of the butter, and place in a large bowl. Warm the cream in the microwave, about 1 minute. Cover to keep the cream warm. Shred the Fontina. Set aside.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the shells . Cook until they are 1 to 2 minutes shy of al dente. Drain.
- Stir the shells into the bowl with the butter. Toss to coat well.
- Add the warm cream and Fontina, and stir until the cheese starts to melt. Season with salt to taste and the nutmeg.
- Pour the mixture into the baking dish.
- Combine the bread crumbs and Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sprinkle over the pasta.
- Dice the remaining tablespoon butter, and dot the crumb topping with small pieces of butter.