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Trio of cheeses makes this pasta dish thrice as nice

February 22, 2012|Scott Anderson | Culinary Passion

This recipe is based upon one of my favorite pastas, cellentani — also known as corkscrew-shaped pasta — and is equally fun to cook, as it is to eat. You can set aside your cast-iron skillet for this one and pull out a stockpot for cooking the pasta and a casserole dish for baking.

Cellentani allows your dish to hold in the sauce and goes well as a base for pasta salads. The ingredients are basic pantry items you should have on hand aside from the Kasseri cheese.

It's worth the flavor to try it and not substitute another cheese if at all possible.

The secret to this recipe is not to overcook the pasta.

Pull the spaghetti off the heat just as it turns al dente, drain and shock it in cold water to stop the cooking or you will get a mushy dish.

You can also substitute ricotta cheese for the cottage cheese.  You will get more flavors out of whole milk ricotta but you can substitute part skim if you want to cut down on the fat.

Scott C. Anderson is associate food service director and chef with Shepherd University dining services in Shepherdstown, W.Va., and Chef Ambassador to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.



Baked cellentani with a trio of cheese

1 pound cellentani, uncooked

3/4 cup 1-percent milk

3/4 cup part skim cottage cheese

1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup fine Italian style bread crumbs, dry

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoon coarse grated Kasseri cheese (Greek cheese)



Cook pasta according to package directions. Cook till just al dente and pull then run under cold water to stop cooking.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

While pasta is cooking, combine the milk and cottage cheese in a food processor and pulse until creamy.

Transfer to a mixing bowl and stir in the cheddar cheese, 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese, parsley, a few pinches of salt and grinds of pepper to taste.

Stir the pasta into the cheese mixture until well blended.

Transfer to a 9-by-13-inch casserole dish.

Stir the breadcrumbs, olive oil and grated Kasseri cheese in a small bowl until thoroughly mixed. Sprinkle mixture evenly over casserole.

Bake until heated through, and the breadcrumbs are golden brown, about 30 to 35 minutes.

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