Giada's Creamy, Cheesy Baked Fettuccine — Meatless Monday

Think of this as a grown-up take on the classic macaroni and cheese.

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Creamy Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme

Photo by: Matt Armendariz ©2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Matt Armendariz, 2013, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Macaroni and cheese is great and all (actually, it's really great — a timeless classic if ever there was one), but sometimes you want something a bit more unexpected, something that delivers the ooey-gooey comfort you know and love but is also refined. And for that there's Giada De Laurentiis' next-level take on a baked pasta, which she deems "a really sophisticated and elegant mac and cheese."

Just as quick to make as a classic homemade mac and cheese, Giada's Creamy Baked Fettuccine with Asiago and Thyme replaces the usual stovetop cheddar sauce with a mixture of two cheeses and cool creme fraiche that can simply be combined in a single bowl. Similar to sour cream, creme fraiche boasts a subtle tang, which, along with the fragrant fresh thyme, balances the richness of the Asiago and the nutty Parmesan. When the pasta is ready — Giada skips the old-school elbow noodles and opts for thick, hearty fettuccine — she tosses it with the cheese blend to create a decadent mixture that's ready for baking. Just top it with a blanket of Asiago and let the casserole turn golden in the oven.

Meatless Monday, an international movement, encourages people everywhere to cut meat one day a week for personal and planetary health. Browse more recipes.

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