Fusilli with Three Cheeses and Red Bell Pepper

Food & Wine
Macaroni and cheese goes upscale with fontina, mozzarella, and Parmesan. This particular combination provides plenty of flavor and meltability, but don't limit yourself to our selection: Make your own trio from the cheeses you have on hand.
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Ingredients

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4 tablespoons butter
2 red bell peppers, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 pound fusilli
1/4 pound fontina, grated (about 1 cup)
3 ounces mozzarella, grated (about 3/4 cup)
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper

Preparation

1. In a medium frying pan, melt one tablespoon of the butter over moderately low heat. Add the bell peppers and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

2. Heat the broiler. Butter a large shallow baking dish.

3. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the fusilli until just done, about 13 minutes. Drain and return to the hot pot. Toss the pasta with the remaining 3 tablespoons butter and 3/4 teaspoon salt, the sautéed bell peppers, the fontina, mozzarella, 3 tablespoons of the Parmesan, and the black pepper.

4. Transfer the pasta to the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the remaining 3 tablespoons Parmesan over the top. Broil until the top starts to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve with additional Parmesan.

Browned and Bubbling: Cheese often turns stringy when tossed with hot pasta. Broiling the dish after tossing melts the strings into a smooth sauce. An added bonus: that irresistible brown crust.

Wine Recommendation: Creamy cheeses need a light red wine as a foil for their richness. A weighty Chianti Classico or Riserva would be overpowering here, but a basic Chianti, with its slight bitter-cherry flavor, will strike just the right balance.

Created date

June 2004