Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta

  • carolfitz Posted: 12/26/10
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    Chose this to use leftover mascarpone. Prepped everything in the morning, then took out of the fridge about 45min prior to baking, topping with crumbs at last minute. Used salt in the pasta water and a slurry to thicken the milk, following hints from CL's 9/09 article on mac n' cheese basics. Used panko instead of fresh bread & a bit more garlic. Got a really creamy, cheesy side dish, but certainly not spectacular.

  • Jake88888888 Posted: 11/10/08
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    Based on what other readers wrote, I tweaked it. Added some butter to flour prior to mixing with milk. Added 1/4 cup finely chopped prosciutto and 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach leaves. Delicious. Hubby dove for 2nds - and can't wait for leftovers!

  • cookhealthync Posted: 11/16/08
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    Based on previous reviews, I replaced 1/4 cup of Fontina with 1/4 cup of fresh Parmesan cheese to give it more flavor. A nice comfort food - fancy mac & cheese. Forego the crumb topping if serving picky children. I served it with Vanilla Balsamic Chicken and sauteed spinach. Guests requested the recipe.

  • Robinl929 Posted: 12/01/08
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    Very good mac and cheese. The soft fontina problem can be solved by placing the fontina in the freezer for a half hour. It then shreds wonderfully. I added some ham it was great.

  • idesign Posted: 12/06/10
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    I made this last weekend and while it looked great, it had no taste and didn't have enough sauce so it was dry. I've never made a recipe on here that got great reviews that I disagreed with, but there's a first for everything! Marscapone and Fontina cheese don't have much flavor to begin with, which is why we all agreed it needed flavor. The reason why I gave it 2 stars is because it's a great base recipe for how to make homemade Mac & Cheese, but I'll need to try out a different cheese. Also, I used panko crumbs instead of regular bread crumbs because they have a great texture. I'll make this recipe again, but with different cheeses and will make more sauce than it asks for. I did make this ahead of time, so it was refrigerated before placing in the oven - that could have played a role in the lack of sauce, but not with the lack of flavor.

  • lorieklee Posted: 02/22/11
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    This dish was really bland. First time a recipe with four stars was not worth making over and over, plus the fontina cheese is too expensive for a dish that is less than stellar. I won't be making this again.

  • heddyq Posted: 03/08/11
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    My family LOVED this recipe! Made as written, but subbed in 1/3 cup shredded parm as a reader suggested. Down home cookin' taste!

  • Jbrada Posted: 02/14/11
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    This was a huge hit with out family, even with children. It was pure comfort. We added ham to the recipe and used planko instead of breadcrumbs. We'll make this again!!

  • sjsym1 Posted: 10/31/09
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    Quite delicious and easy to make (made it the day before and just threw it in the oven). I added peas for the color and veggie factor. Used Bel Gioioso brand mascarpone, which had about half the fat of the other brands, with no difference in taste or texture.

  • RiderGrad Posted: 03/26/10
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    I loved this recipe...It was so good and not too hard...I am definitely making this again

  • margokidd Posted: 04/01/09
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    I thought this was really good. I made the sauce as directed. I did add nutmeg and tabasco for some kick. I also admit to adding a bit more salt! Great topping too... i'd make this again. Especially since whenever i use mascarpone, i seem to have leftover, so this is a great way to use it up since it's a bit pricey.

  • casey45632 Posted: 12/15/10
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    This recipe was great! The topping is delicious. I will definitely make this again.

  • ckelley116 Posted: 09/13/10
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    This recipe was amazing! I suggested it to my sister for our weekly Sunday-night dinner and she followed it to a T. It couldn't have been any better, unless we added some crabmeat or lobster to it...maybe next time. The combination of fontina and mascarpone was just to die for. It had no "smelly sock" taste (yeah, fontina has a distinct odor, but smelly socks, really? Come on now. We're all adults here). I definitely plan to make this for my husband, I think he'll love it too. If not - more for me!

  • ringaround Posted: 02/24/11
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    I have not made mac and cheese (weight constraints) for years and decided to try this recipe because of the unusual cheese combo. Altho my husband and I both really enjoyed because we haven't had mac and cheese in "forever", we would just say it was good, not a "best thing I ever ate" moment. I liked the mildness of the fontina as opposed to cheddar or even velveeta.

  • Christy72 Posted: 10/29/09
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    We made this last night and it was awesome; however as most recipes, we made a few additions. We added parmesian to the sauce and sprinkled the top with it prior to baking as well. Also, we made a spicy tomato sauce with sausage and poured it over each portion. Was soo yummy and even my picky son liked it. BTW, found both cheeses at Whole Foods. Also, found out Safeway carries marscapone.

  • Tashak Posted: 03/15/10
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    Overall this recipe is extremely bland. I would imagine adding garlic, maybe some minced onion and seasoning would help it. We won't be making this again to try. I'll stick with flavorful macaroni and cheese.

  • PNWDad Posted: 02/15/11
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    OK, so this got so many good ratings I decided to try this for a Valentines Day dinner. Easy but VERY bland - sadly I wasted good money on good cheese. I have a ton left over so I'm going to spice it up for lunch tomorrow and see if I can make it taste better. I don't want to add salt but that may be the only thing to save this recipe....FLAVORLESS!

  • NRs2nite Posted: 03/08/11
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    Thought it was okay....very one note. Could've used some garlic, or would've been better with some chicken.

  • caanco40 Posted: 01/26/11
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    Absolutely delicious...my additions were a sauteed shallot & bite sized grilled chicken pieces were mixed in before baking.

  • Sigralite Posted: 10/10/11
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    The only thing I had to sub was the cheese, added feta, which was a nice choice. Then added Chicken. It had a very thick flavor, next time I will be changing it up a bit, removing the chicken and probably adding some veggies to the mix as it could certainly be better. :) Over all I do highly recommend it.

  • McGowan13 Posted: 10/23/11
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    Kind of disappointed in this one. Very bland. I agree with the other recommendations of adding chicken or some shallot. Maybe subbing in some sort of cheese with a kick would help.

  • uvmshell51 Posted: 12/10/11
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    I agree-the taste of cheese is missing. I even used imported Italian Fontina-at 19.99/lb that was steep. The Italian Fontina is easier to grate that the other varieties. I believe that Cooking Light has developed a Mac & Cheese with more of a cheese taste.

  • Jaimebuns Posted: 12/28/11
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    Fantastic! Those that gave this a bad review must be too accustomed to Kraft mac & cheese. The cheese sauce was velvety and I didn't even shred the Fontina - I cut it into cubes ... melted just fine. I used whole wheat bread and mixed with garlic was crunchy and delicious. I also used whole wheat pasta and the whole dish came out amazing!

  • Lynx579 Posted: 01/04/12
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    A little bland and a bit dry but has potential. I think adding chicken would really help.

  • ColoradoKO Posted: 02/21/12
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    I read all of the reviews of this dish before I made it, so my expectations were pretty low. I used mini-penne since a lot of the Cooking Light dishes use penne and I wanted to mix it up. I traded 3oz of the fontina for 3oz of fresh parm. I added more garlic to the topping and used panko breadcrumbs. This dish was OUTSTANDING and worth the $14 just for the cheeses. Lots of leftovers and I will make again. Don't expect this to taste like mac n' cheese, its so much better.

  • MeeshMech79 Posted: 01/19/12
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    Pretty bland. I ate it anyway but my husband did not care for it. Followed recipe exactly as written except used panko in place of bread crumbs for an added crunch. I felt like it needed additional salt/pepper/seasoning of some sort. I agree that it is a good base recipe for mac & cheese but I'll probably try either different cheeses next time or add more seasoning to it.

  • EllieinChicago Posted: 04/17/13
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    I made this tonight and my husband and I loved it! I used 1% milk because it was what I had on hand. Yes, I am aware that it didn't help the calories/fat, in light of this being a cooking light recipe. Also, I used trottole shaped pasta (similar to cavatappi). I think that added an elegance to the dish, as penne is just so common. I added cooked diced pancetta when the recipe calls for you to mixed the cooked pasta and cheese. Trader Joel's sells pancetta diced, and at good price. Again, not helping the calories, but it was good! Finally, upon being served, I added a few drops of truffle oil to each serving. AMAZING!! I followed the base recipe to the t, minus the 1% milk and the addition of pancetta and truffle oil. The homemade breadcrumbs surprisingly are important, I think. Also, I did use the correct cheeses, etc. trader joe's sells fontina at a really great price too. I will make this again and recommend to friends and family. It was great!

  • jmeleeS Posted: 11/06/12
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    This recipe was SO bland so I had to make some quick fixes - the result was the best mac & cheese I've ever made from home (P.S. - I never eat the Kraft portion, and grew up with homeade baked mac & cheese, so my thoughts are not from commercialized styles). I used the full amount of fontina and then added an additional 3/4 cup of sharp cheddar. I added 1 tsp each of red pepper, salt, black pepper and smoked paprika. I thickened the base with ~3 tbsp of real butter and 1 tsp cornstarch. I grated 1 elephant garlic clove into the cheese mix and used mini penne pasta. Finally, I crumbled 8 cooked slices of bacon putting 3/4 of the mix into the base (along with the parsley and fresh oregano) and sprinkled 1/4 of the bacon on top of the pasta. I omitted in total the breadcrumb topping (my great gma never used it in her mac & cheese and I thank her for that!) and baked for the prescribed time. Wow was the total result (I'm sure it blew the calorie counts, but it's worth it!) - Enjoy!

  • JessieGeorges Posted: 11/23/12
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    I modified this to make it more kid friendly, and my kids couldn't get enough. They said it was their favorite mac & cheese ever! Based on an earlier review, I used 1 cup of shredded fontina and 1 cup of fresh shredded parmesan to add more flavor. Next time I will add some fresh minced garlic to the sauce before mixing it with the pasta and baking it. I omitted the topping altogether. As I said, my kids loved it. I would have preferred a little more flavor so will add some garlic and white pepper next time.

  • xspinteach45 Posted: 03/17/13
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    Delicious !

  • chultzy Posted: 03/26/12
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    I used this recipe fto make lobster mac and cheese. I added some gruycre cheese, a little extra salt and pepper, and it made all the difference where flavor is concerned. I expect even without the lobster the flavor would be much better.

  • mkowens Posted: 12/24/12
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    I have not used this recipe! what I don't understand about people and recipes except for MeeshMech79! if you haven't made it first! why do they change a recipe before they make it? . Its like taking a recipe and changing it and making it their own! Its not the same light recipe. I am giving it a rating othewise i can not post If They are such good cooks why do they need recipes!!!

  • pottsey1953 Posted: 12/30/12
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    Next time, I will make more sauce or use a smaller baking dish because it was a little dry. Maybe I should have added a little pasta water like I started to do. It was still delish!

  • JerseyShoreMom Posted: 12/27/12
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    This was terrible, I followed the directions exactly and it came out very dry. Way too many breadcrumbs and not enough of a cheesy sauce. Definitely not making it again.

  • catblue Posted: 02/18/13
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    Just wondering where is the 'light' in this...for all the calories/fat I will just stick with regular good 'ole mac and cheese!

  • Emilia98 Posted: 02/20/13
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    I really enjoyed this. I didn't have any mascaropone, so I used a dollop of 1/3 less fat cream cheese since I was halving it. I also have a hard time digesting fatty foods so the 1/3 less fat cream cheese worked really well. I didn't feel like processing a piece of bread, so I just used regular bread crumbs, and I also sauteed 2 cloves of garlic even though I was halving it. I would make this again.

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