this pasta dish of Ina's is to die for. it is a creamy and cheesy adult style macaroni and cheese with the volume turned up. the combination of all the cheeses give it an incredible flavor - and whatever you do - DO NOT skip the smoked mozzarella. i made it without it once and i missed it the whole time i was eating it. recently i decided to add some sundried tomatoes to it and it was a welcome addition. the nice part is i can make it early in the day, keep it in the fridge and right before people arrive i throw it in the oven - it is a perfect entertaining dish.
penne with 5 cheeses
adapted from the great one (Ina Garten) from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Kosher salt and pepper
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup marinara
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded smoked mozzarella (1 1/2 ounces)
1/2 cup shredded provolone (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cubed
4 - 5 sundried tomato halves chopped small
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/2 tsp essence (optional to make it spicy)
pinch red pepper flakes
1 pound imported penne rigate pasta (i used Cavatappi)
1/2 cup panko or regular breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.
Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. reserve a 1/2 c of cheese mix minus fresh mozzarella for the top. Mix well.
Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2-cup capacity) or large baking dish. Sprinkle reserved cheese and panko on top of pasta. Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes for small gratin 10 - 15 for large baking dish.
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