1 each package of dry orchiette pasta or other shape, cooked al dente (remember it gets further cooking in the oven)
1 each small red bell pepper, diced
4 stalks celery, diced
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 cup mayonnaise
4 ounces or 3/4 cup each sharp cheddar, mild cheddar and mozzarella shredded
3 tablespoons, Parmesan cheese
2 to 4 ounces, heavy cream, depending on personal taste
3 tablespoons, minced Italian parsley
As needed butter to grease baking dish
1 cup dried toasted breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons pesto, basil or parsley works
Crab, Addition Optional:
1/2 pound crab, cleaned
1 small red bell pepper, minced
1 stock celery, minced
2 ounces (1/4 cup) each mozzarella shredded and sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
Cook pasta to the tooth–it must be still firm in center.
Combine first nine (9) ingredients, mixing well to distribute evenly. Add to pasta. Put into large buttered baking dish or several small individual cups, also buttered. Cover with parchment paper and foil.
Bake at 400° for 20-25 minutes for large dish; 10-15 for small individual dishes. Remember, if putting on the crab topping, take out of oven before center of dish is bubbling about 15-20 minutes for the large container.
Blend crumb topping ingredients; set aside till needed.
When using crab topping, lightly combine crab ingredients and place on top of par-cooked pasta. Add the crumb topping to the top.
Bake uncovered for an additional 10-15 minutes to warm topping thoroughly. Serve immediately.