As soon as Maryanna posted her recipe for Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme in the recipe swap roundup I knew I had to make it ASAP. It sounded like a baked version of fettuccine alfredo and how could that be bad?
I apologize for the less than stellar photo (look at Maryanna's...it's much nicer).
This dish was exactly as I imagined it would be, except for my own stupidity. Instead of grating the cheeses using my microplane, which would have resulted in feathery-light cheese that would melt easily in the sauce, I grated my cheese on a box grater. I'm not sure what I was thinking. The result was clumps of unmelted cheese throughout the sauce. Not quite the silky, creamy concoction I'd planned. I've modified the recipe below to be more specific. As a friend told me, this just gives me an excuse to make it again, which I definitely will be doing soon.
Oh and for those wondering how the homemade creme fraiche turned out, it was perfect. I was really, really skeptical about leaving dairy out on the counter for 36 hours but it was fine. And I saved over $10 making my own. Score!
Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme
Taste and See
1 pound fettuccine pasta
2 cups grated Asiago cheese, plus 1/4 cup (grated using a microplane)
2 (8-ounce) containers creme fraiche (or make your own, recipe below)
1 cup grated Parmesan (grated using a microplane)
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 375-degrees F.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup of the pasta cooking liquid.
In a large bowl, combine the 2 cups Asiago, creme fraiche, Parmesan, thyme, salt, pepper, cooked pasta, and pasta cooking liquid. Gently toss until all the ingredients are combined and the pasta is coated.
Place the pasta in a buttered baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup Asiago cheese. Bake until golden on top, about 25 minutes. Let sit for at least 5 minutes, and serve.
2 tablespoons buttermilk, room temp
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Heat heavy whipping cream over very low heat until it reaches body temperature (not to exceed 100-degrees F). Remove from heat and pour into a glass bowl or jar. Add buttermilk, and give it a couple of stirs. Seal the bowl with plastic wrap or jar with a lid, and let it sit in a warm place (about 70-degrees) for 12 to 36 hours until it thickens.
Stir the thickened creme fraiche and store in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.
Note - If using for the above recipe, double the amount of buttermilk and heavy cream.