Makes 12 servings.
- 2 c. diced pancetta (1/4")
- 3/4 loaf baguette (dry)
- 1/2 lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, to taste
- 1 1/2 lbs. pounds rotelli pasta
- 3 pints (6 c.) heavy cream
- 2 c. (about 8 oz.) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 12 oz. Fontina cheese, cut into 1/4" cubes and chilled
- Salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 375°F. On a baking sheet with sides, cook the pancetta for 6 to 8 minutes or until just crispy. Drain the grease and set aside.
Crush and crumble the baguette (you may use a food processor), until semi-fine, to make breadcrumbs. In a large sauté pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the breadcrumbs and toast (tossing), until golden brown. Set aside.
Cook the pasta until al dente, cool, and set aside in a large mixing bowl.
In a hot saucepot, add heavy cream and bring to a boil. Simmer and reduce by one-third. Slowly whisk in 1 1/4 cups of the Parmesan and pancetta. Continue reducing slightly until the consistency is thick and creamy.
In the large mixing bowl with the pasta, add the cream mixture along with the fontina cheese. Toss quickly and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the mixture into lightly buttered individual casserole baking dishes (5- to 6-ounce dishes). Top with the breadcrumbs and remaining parmesan cheese. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove and serve hot.
Note: You may also use one large casserole dish for this recipe.