Combine first 3 ingredients on a lightly sprayed jelly-roll pan. Bake at 250° for 3 hours. Preheat broiler.
Bring 6 quarts water to a boil. Add 2 teaspoons salt and pasta; cook 8 minutes or until al dente. Drain.
Cook bacon in a saucepan; remove. Cook onion in drippings 4 minutes. Add flour and garlic; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1 cup milk. Gradually add 3 cups milk; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; let stand 4 minutes. Stir in cheeses. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt, bacon, tomatoes, and chives. Add pasta. Divide among 8 (10-ounce) lightly sprayed ramekins. Combine panko and butter; sprinkle over pasta. Broil 5 minutes.
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In all seriousness, did anyone else's catch on fire? Everything was rolling along just fine, put it in the oven (on broil) and within two minutes the whole thing was on fire. After we scraped off the burnt stuff the verdict was this is just ok. Nothing great. The leftovers were better the second day after everything melded together. Also, broiling the tomatoes for 20 minutes (with a little olive oil, salt and pepper) worked just fine instead of the 3 hours.
This was delicious. I'll make again, and share the recipe with friends. I also made it in a 9x12 pan. I didn't bake first, just followed the directions for broiling and it was fine. I thought 3 hours in the oven at 250 degrees was excessive for roasting the tomatoes, in terms of energy usage. The roasting was essential, though. An alternative is 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. I THINK that would use less energy but I'm no expert!
We found this totally unremarkable. Lacking in flavor, despite the onion, chive, thyme, bacon, etc. However, if you do try it, definitely follow Cynthia's advice and bake it before broiling. I did individual ramekins and still had to microwave them to get them hot enough after being under the broiler.
Very tasty, especially if you love blue cheese. I used whole wheat penne pasta and dried thyme. Also, I used a 9 x 13 baking dish instead of individual ramekins. I was afraid of the dish not being hot enough, so I baked it in a 350 oven for 10 minutes, then finished it under the broiler.
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