14 oz. bag of Basketball Pasta (or any other short shape!)
6 T. butter, divided
1 1/2 cups shredded Italian blend cheese (3,4 ,or 5 cheeses) (part of an 8 ounce bag)
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1 t. salt
1 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 t. pepper
1/2 cup panko (or dry seasoned bread crumbs)
Fresh chopped parsley for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Using 1 T. of butter, grease a 2 1/2 or 3 quart gratin/casserole dish.
Cook pasta according to package directions, drain (RESERVE 1 cup of pasta water!), rinse with cold water and toss with 1 T. oil.
In a large bowl, combine the can of tomatoes, with juice, 1 cup Italian blend cheese, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese, all seasonings, 23 T. melted butter, and reserved pasta water. Add cooked pasta to bowl and toss gently to combine. Optional: Pull a few pieces of pasta out of bowl to save and top dish, so guests will notice the pasta shape!
Pour pasta mixture in casserole dish.
Combine panko with 2 T. melted butter in a small bowl.
Sprinkle panko mixture over top of casserole.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until dish is hot, pasta is melted and top crust is golden brown!
Top with fresh chopped parsley and extra pasta pieces.