This is what I did
1 diced red or green bell pepper1 diced medium onion
1/2 cup chopped pepperoni (optional of course–all these veggies are optional…can use any…more…less…go for it)
2 cloves garlic minced
2T olive oil
1 1/2 cup heavy cream (you could use milk, but why)
4 oz, or 1/2 brick cream cheese
2-3 cups shredded cheese. (I used gruyere and sharp cheddar)
Salt and pepper to taste
A few grates of freshly grated nutmeg…or about 1/2 tsp
1 cup bread crumbs (panko, flavored…your choice)
Of course you can use dry pasta of your choice. I would say a box1 lb of any pasta of your choice. but don’t cook it all the way…keep it a bit under cooked because it’ll cook more in the oven) I used home made pappardelle (a wonderfully wide noodle and I kept them on the thicker side when I rolled them) based on:
1 1/2 cup flour
2T olive oil
1 tsp salt
Mix all the ingredients and knead for 10-12 minutes. Rest covered for 1/2 hour during which time you can make the cheese sauce. Then cut the ball of dough in quarters and roll out each quarter to the thickness of your choice. Flour and stack the sheets of pasta roll up the short way and cut 1 1/2 -2″ wide noodle. Boil water and add the noodles and stir so they don’t stick together. Cook for 30 seconds (really just 30 seconds). Drain the noodles and add them to the cheese/vegetable mixture and stir to combine.
Preheat the oven to 350
In a large pan, heat the olive oil over a medium high flame. Add the peppers and onions and salt and sautéed for a few minutes. Add the garlic and pepperoni and sauté a bit longer until the vegetables are soft, and the pepperoni crispy, but be careful not to burn the garlic or pepperoni. This will thicken over time. It looks loose, but no worries.
Add the cream or milk, the creamed cheese, and the cheeses and lower the heat to medium…mix until the cheeses melt. Season with salt and pepper and nutmeg.
When the pasta is cooked, drain and mix into the cheese sauce.
In a sauté pan, melt the butter over a medium high flame. When melted, add the bread crumbs and toss or stir constantly until they are light-golden brown.
Spray a 9×9 (or 8×8 or any baking or casserole dish you like) with cooking spray. Pour in the cheese pasta mixture into the baking dish or casserole. Sprinkle on the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for 15-30 minutes until it’s bubbly and nicely golden brown.