Two Years Ago: Citizen Public House Chopped Salad
I found this recipe over ten years ago in Food & Wine magazine, and finally found an occasion to try it out when our friends Brad and Mary came to visit for the weekend. They were going to arrive shortly before dinner time so I wanted an easy make-ahead but still impressive meal. I made the dish in the morning, so all I had to do when they arrived was throw it in the oven and toss together a big green salad and some garlic bread to go with it.
There's a fair amount of cheese grating involved in the prep, so if you decide to double the recipe for a 9"x13" pan I would definitely break out the food processor. Try to find a Fontina that the label describes as mild because Fontinas vary between mild and pungent. Mild works best here. Same thing with the Gorgonzola - I discovered that Gorgonzola dolce is basically a mild Gorgonzola. I managed to find it in my local cheese shop but if you can't find it, just ask for the mildest Gorgonzola they have. The cheeses all meld together so no one taste particularly stands out, which means kids will probably like this also.
This dish was very cheesy and very good on its own, but I could definitely see adding some crumbled bacon or prosciutto, or cooked and chopped broccoli rabe. It's far easier to make than lasagna, and more interesting than your typical baked short pasta dish. And if you double it, it serves a lot of people. AND it's vegetarian. A total winner in my book.
Baked Four Cheese Spaghetti
Serves 4 generously
Notes: the recipe can be made earlier in the day and refrigerated, covered. Uncover and bake per directions. Also, the recipe can be doubled for a 9”x13” pan.
¾ lb spaghetti
4 ounces mild Fontina, coarsely shredded
4 ounces mozzarella, coarsely shredded
4 ounces Gruyere, coarsely shredded
2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce, crumbled
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350d. Spray an 8” by 8” baking dish (or similar sized dish) with nonstick spray. Cook the spaghetti in a large pot of salted water until al dente. Drain well and spread the spaghetti on a baking sheet to cool.
In a medium bowl, toss the Fontina, mozzarella and Gruyere together. Spread one third of the spaghetti in the prepared dish in an even layer. Sprinkle 1/3 of the mixed cheeses and half of the Gorgonzola over the spaghetti and season with salt and pepper. Repeat with another layer of spaghetti, mixed cheeses, Gorgonzola and salt and pepper. Top with the remaining spaghetti and mixed cheeses.
Baked the spaghetti in the center of the oven until the top is golden brown, about 40 minutes. If desired, turn on the broiler during the last minute or two to create a few darker brown crispy bits but watch closely so it doesn’t burn.
Let cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.