Tag Archives: Penne

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


Penne alla Bolognese (Bolognese Sauce)

Bolognese Sauce
This has been a recipe I’ve been waiting for. Meat and tomato sauce….mmmmm.

There are as many recipes for Bolognese Sauce as there are people who eat Bolognese Sauce. It’s one of the recipes that practically begs for experimentation.

  • 1/3 lb ground beef
  • 1/3 lb of ground veal
  • 1/3 lb of ground lamb
  • 1/4 lb of chopped pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon of butter
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2 cup red wine (I chose Chianti)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 1 14 oz can of whole tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato paste

In a large sauce pot, brown the chopped beef and (veal or lamb). Add pancetta, cook well. Drain fat and set meat aside.

In the same pot, sauté onion and garlic in the olive oil & butter until the onions are translucent. De glaze the pan with wine and reduce by half. Puree the whole tomatoes and add them to the pot along with the sliced carrots and reserved meat. Add milk and fold in thoroughly.

Simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. (If the sauce become too dry add a little water or chicken stock)

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (for garnish)
  • chopped green onions (for garnish)

In a big pot of boiling water, cook pasta al dente. Serve sauce over pasta with grated cheese.

Serves 4-6


Penne al Cognac

Penne al cognac

Tomato Sauce + Cognac = bliss

I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before…Afer all – Tomato Sauce + Vodka = bliss and Tomato Sauce + Red Wine = bliss. It should have occurred to me.

But it took a recipe from A Cook’s Tour of Italy to make me see the proverbial light. If you’re looking for a new sauce to put on pasta, this is the perfect place to start. The cognac blends ever so well with the tomato sauce, giving a depth to the sauce that’s atypical of most tomato bases sauces out there.

This here recipe is my first recipe from the Umbria region of Italy. Yes, yes, I know. I haven’t talked about Umbria as of yet. I’m getting to it…really.

  • 2 cups of your favorite tomato sauce
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/4 cup Cognac
  • 2 lbs penne pasta
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Chopped Italian Parsley (fresh)
  • Grated pecorino cheese

In a sauce pan, heat tomato sauce and tomato paste over medium low heat. Add pepper flakes and allow to get to a warm temperature. Whisk in the cognac and bring to a simmer. Cook at said simmer for 15 minutes, give or take.

In a separate pan, bring pasta water to a boil over medium heat. While boiling, add penne and cook for 12-15 minutes (or according to directions on the box).

While pasta is cooking, add half & half to the tomato sauce and continue to simmer (185 degrees F). Add salt and pepper to taste.

Drain pasta and pour into a serving bowl. Dress with olive oil and allow to sit. Pour in half of the tomato sauce and coat the pasta. Spoon in a small bowl or plate. Top with a ladle-ful or two of the unused sauce. Top with parsley and cheese…although be careful with the amount of cheese used, as it may overwhelm the taste of the sauce.

Serves 8-12