Baked Penne

To me, there is no better food than pasta that has a nice collection of gooey, creamy cheeses that have been broiled into a nice tan/rust color. It makes my heart skip a bit, probably out of anticipation, but also maybe because of some sort of cholesterolic osmosis that my arteries go through when they simply look at anything with cheese in it.

Regardless, if I were able to choose my last meal upon this earth, this one would certainly have to be considered, ifn ot outright make it to the final round of decisions. Pared with a nice chianti or syrrah and garlic bread fresh out of the oven, it’s as close to a perfect meal as I’ve been able to create.

NOTE: This recipe takes about an hour or so to complete, what with the pancetta frying and such invloved. Clean up is also an issue as there will be several pots and pans to clean up for what is essentially a casserole. If you choose to make this recipe, a day where you have extra time would your preference.

  • 1/3 lb Pancetta, diced
  • 2 links, spicy Italian Sausage
  • 1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14 oz can of diced tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 green pepper, seeded and sliced
  • 3 cloves, garlic
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano
  • 1 lb penne
  • 1/3 lb Provalone, cubed
  • 1/3 lb Fontinella, cubed
  • 1/2 lb Buffalo Mozzarella, sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, minced

In a frying pan, fry the pancetta until crisp (approximately 10 minutes). When complete, place on paper towels in order to drain off excess grease. Set aside.

In the same frying pan, place the links of Italian sausage. Sear, and then add 1 1/2 cups of water, and cover, cooking for 10-12 minutes. Remove, slice into chunks and also set aside.

Open the can of 28 oz tomatoes and puree with either a food processor or a stick blender. Pour tomatoes into a large sauce pan, and place over medium heat. Add the diced tomatoes from the 14 oz can, along with the tomato paste, sugar, onions, peppers, oregano and garlic. Cover and cook for 10 minutes or until the sauce starts to bubble, whichever comes first. Lower the heat to a simmer (185 degrees F) and add the pancetta and sausage. Cover once again.

While the sauce is cooking, boil the penne pasta as per instructions on the box.

Pre-heat the broiler of the oven to 500 degrees F.

When the pasta is done cooking, drain and place into a 11 inch x 7 inch x 1-1/2 inch glass baking dish. Pour the sauce over top. Then dot the pasta with the cubes of provolone and fontinella. Finish by strategically placing slices of mozzarella upon the top of the sauce and pasta.

Place baking dish in the broiler and bake for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese starts to color and/or bubble. Remove from the oven and allow to set for 5-10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8

Technorati Tags: Food, Recipes, Pasta, Baked Penne

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