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Creamy Four-Cheese Pasta (Pasta ai Quattro Formaggi)
Rich and creamy pasta ai quattro formaggi—or pasta with four cheeses—is the Italian equivalent of American mac and cheese. The cheeses can vary, though funky Gorgonzola and nutty Parmesan are typical. We use those along with creamy mascarpone and fontina, an Italian semi-soft cow’s milk cheese that melts well. A short pasta with contours or crevices for catching the creamy sauce works well—we especially like campanelle, with its frilly edges and hollow centers. We use only three quarts of water to boil the pasta so the liquid is extra starchy, then use some some of the cooking water to help to thicken and bind the sauce. To finish, a few minutes under the broiler lightly crisps and browns the surface.
tablespoon salted butter, room temperature
pound campanelle, gemelli or penne pasta
01Heat the broiler with a rack positioned about 6 inches from the element. Coat a broiler-safe 9-by-13-inch baking dish with the butter. In a large pot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add the pasta and 2 teaspoons salt, then cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Reserve 1 cup of the cooking water, then drain; set the pasta aside.
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