Recipe by Lennie
I was watching The Barefoot Contessa earlier this week, and she made this dish. The show was about preparing food ahead of time so that at dinner time, you have very little to do. When I went on the Web to get the recipe, it was nowhere to be found. Luckily, the show was repeated last night, so I was ready, pen in hand. The recipe below is exactly how it was described on the show; it looks delicious and I hope to try it soon. The amount given for the gorgonzola is a guess on my part, as it wasn't specified, nor was the type of cream specified (I'd use regular table cream). She also didn't specify how much basil she used, but it looked like about a quarter-cup. It was mentioned that no salt was needed, as the cheeses are salty enough.
Top Review by OB Nurse
I omitted the gorgonzola as I don't like any "blue" cheese. And I was afraid when I grated the Fontina because it smelled so bad (first time to buy and use it). But the outcome was delicious. I didn't use a large bowl, I just mixed all the ingredients in a 9X13 pan and then added the penne and baked it (saved washing one bowl). I did use fresh mozarella from Costco. Very rich and creamy and just as good, or better, than Olive Garden's 5 Cheese Baked Ziti.
- 1 lb penne
- 2 cups cream
- 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from a can)
- 1⁄2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (or romano)
- 2 -4 tablespoons gorgonzola, crumbled
- 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
- 1⁄2 cup grated fontina
- 1⁄4 lb mozzarella cheese (as fresh as possible)
- 1⁄4 cup slivered fresh basil leaf
- 6 teaspoons butter (approximate, butter is to taste)
Directions See How It's Made
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook penne for just 4 minutes (or until barely al dente, as it will cook more in the oven); drain well.
- Meanwhile, in a very large mixing bowl, combine the cream, crushed tomatoes, cheeses and basil.
- On the show, very fresh buffalo mozzarella was used, and it was cut into slices and then slivered (much like a julienne); I'm sure shredded mozzarella would work just fine.
- Add cooked, drained penne to sauce and stir well.
- On the show, individual shallow serving dishes were filled with the pasta; I'm sure this could be done in a shallow casserole dish too, such as a 13x9 pan.
- Either fill individual dishes with pasta, as above, or fill an entire shallow dish, then dot butter over surface in small pieces.
- Bake in preheated oven for 7 to 10 minutes, until top is browned.
- On the show, the individual dishes were then refrigerated, uncovered, so that they could be reheated later in the evening; unfortunately, no information was given as to how the dish should be reheated (oven temp, time, etc) so, really, your guess is as good as mine.