After a week of healthy eating and yesterday’s snowfall (Yes, it snows in late April in PA.), I was craving something flavor-packed, hearty, and easy to make. Several years ago I made Ina Garten’s Penne with Five Cheeses. This dish immediately came to mind when my craving struck. I knew it would be perfect.
I decided to give it a little twist though. Inspired by my new Tomato Cocotte from Staub and wanting to pack an extra punch of flavor into this cheesy pasta dish, I was lead to sun-dried tomatoes.
For this recipe, I opted for the oil-packed variety. I generally like these better for most dishes. To me, they seem to have a much richer flavor. Just make sure to drain them using a colander. Then dab off any excess oil with a paper towel.
Along with the delicious variety of cheese, the sun-dried tomatoes complement this dish perfectly. Speaking of cheeses, feel free to get creative. While the combination in this recipe works nicely, if there’s something you don’t like, just leave it out or substitute something you prefer. You can even add chopped chicken if you like and make a meal out of it.
No matter which way you make it, you’re going to love this dish!
Here's what you will need:
1 jar (8.5 ounce) oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, freshly grated
1/2 cup Fontina, shredded
1/3 cup Gorgonzola, crumbled
3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
6 leaves fresh basil, chopped
1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Next, drain the oil from the sun-dried tomatoes. Pat them dry with a paper towel to remove any excess oil and set them aside.
Bring water with a pinch of salt to a boil in a stockpot.
Meanwhile in a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the penne and butter. Mix well.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and parboil for about 5 minutes. Drain it well using a colander and add it to the ingredients in your large bowl. Toss to combine.
Place the pasta mixture in a large oven-safe pan that has a lid. Dot the pasta with butter and sprinkle with additional Pecorino Romano.
Bake for 20 minutes with the lid on. Remove the lid and bake for an additional 15 - 20 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly.
That’s it, friends. Pretty simple, right? I hope the sun is shining near you this weekend. If not, I hope you create a little sunshine of your own. See you back here next week.