Paella is an amazing dish and simple to make and is so unique to family, region and culture.
Super Creamy Four Cheese Baked Ziti
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup gruyere cheese
- 2 cups creamy red wax gouda cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- 1 lb ziti pasta shells
- 1 stick butter
- 6 slices of bacon – reserve the bacon drippings and finely chop the bacon to make approximately ½ cup bacon bits
- ½ cup all purpose flour
- ½ tsp. ground mustard
- ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
- 3 ½ cups milk -room temp
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- ¼ tsp. ground white pepper
- ½ cup Italian style bread crumbs
- Fresh parsley for garnish
Prep Time: 40 minutes Bake Time: 35-40 minutes Yield: 6-8 servings
Preheat the oven to 375°f
In a 6-8q t stock pot cook the ziti pasta shells to al dente. Dump into a colander and place under cold water to stop the cooking process and set aside.
Place the bacon slices on sheet pan lined with parchment paper and place in the oven and cook until the bacon is extra crispy. Remove from oven and place on a paper towel to cool and then set aside. Once the bacon is cool, finely chop into bacon bits. You should get approximately ½ cup.
In a large sauce pan or 6-8 qt stock pot over low heat, add the butter and the reserved bacon drippings. Once the butter has melted, slowly add your flour, and rapidly stir with a wire whisk to keep roux from clumping. Slowly add your room temperature milk, fresh thyme, mustard, nutmeg and bay leaves to stock pot. Continue to stir to prevent clumping. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and season with kosher salt and ground white pepper.
In a large glass or oven safe bowl pour drained ziti and cheese roux. Add your bacon bits and gruyere cheese and stir to fully incorporate. Place the pasta mixture into an oven safe casserole dish and top with bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
Bake at 375°f for 35-40 minutes or until the top is nice a golden brown.
Plate and top with fresh chopped parsley.
This is by far the greatest creation by man - deep frying cheese. No state does it better than Wisconsin. Whenever I go visit my family up north, I have to get curds. It's as common as Green Bay Packer jerseys in every restaurant. When Im inspired to get Wisconsinite on my menu, I have to have cheese curds, walleye, and New Glarus Beer.