Crowd Pleasers

Fontina, Spinach and Bacon Shells

Fontina is supplemented with mascarpone and parmesan cheese to create a rich, velvety sauce. Mixed in with these delicious Italian cheeses is a bit of chopped spinach for extra color and flavor. Top your bowl off with a sprinkling of crispy, applewood smoked bacon for a little smokiness.

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Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium shell pasta
  • 6 ounces applewood smoked bacon
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 3/4 cup Wisconsin mascarpone cheese
  • 1 1/4 cups Wisconsin fontina cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup (1 ounce) Wisconsin parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •   salt, to taste
  • 3 1/2 ounces fresh baby spinach , chopped

Directions

Cook pasta, according to package instructions, one to two minutes fewer than directed. Drain and set aside.Cook pasta, according to package instructions, one to two minutes fewer than directed. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, cut bacon pieces in half vertically, then into small bite sized pieces. Fry until crispy. Drain, and set aside.

In large French or Dutch oven, melt butter. Whisk in flour and cook over medium heat until golden. Slowly whisk in milk while cooking over medium heat.

Stir in mascarpone cheese, whisking until melted and creamy. Whisk in fontina and parmesan until melted and creamy. Add nutmeg, cayenne, black pepper and salt (if desired). Bring to slow simmer, and stir in pasta and spinach. Cook just until heated through.

Serve immediately, sprinkling each portion with bacon.

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Semi-soft and semi-hard cheese, like Cheddar, Monterey Jack and Mozzarella, should be very cold for easy grating.