Baked Penne

May 21st, 2011

Baked Penne

Thanks to Jared Tague for this post.

This Italian classic combines my love of pasta, tomato sauce and cheese perfectly. Generally, ziti pasta is used for this dish, but I prefer to use penne. It’s smaller, and I think the shape of penne actually works better than actual ziti.

This dish can be served a number of ways, but is typically either by itself as a vegetarian dish, or with meatballs or sausage. You can also use meat sauce in place of plain tomato sauce if you like. Garlic bread is a natural accompaniment, as it really rounds out the presentation and is good for dipping in the sauce.

Of course it’s great if you’ve got some homemade tomato sauce lying around, but store-bought can work, too.

Baked Penne

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound box of penne pasta
  • Homemade tomato sauce (or 1 large container of store bought)
  • 1 pound package of ricotta cheese
  • 1 pound of shredded mozzarella or an Italian cheese blend
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp oregano
  • 2 tbsp basil
  • 1 French or Italian baguette (for garlic bread)
  • 3-4 tbsp butter
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
Preparation:
  1. Boil the pasta until al dente and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. To prepare the ricotta cheese, put cheese in a mixing bowl and add garlic powder, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, oregano and basil and stir well with a fork until well mixed.
  4. In a baking dish, spread some tomato sauce on the bottom. Lay pasta in the dish covering the bottom.
  5. Spread the ricotta mixture over the pasta, don’t worry if there are clumps. Pour some tomato sauce over the ricotta covering most of the cheese. Sprinkle a light layer of shredded cheese over the sauce.
  6. Lay down more pasta and repeat step 5, using the remaining ricotta, saving enough pasta for one more layer on top.
  7. Layer the remaining pasta on top and spread some more sauce and top with the remaining shredded cheese.
  8. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and poke 3-4 holes in the top.
  9. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour and a half, then remove the foil and let cook until the top cheese is melted and golden brown.
  10. Remove from oven and let sit for about 15 minutes before serving.
  11. To make garlic bread, slice baguette in half. Let butter soften or melt in microwave for 15-20 seconds and spread over bread. Spread minced garlic over bread. Put two halves of bread back together and wrap in aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  12. Remove aluminum foil and split bread apart again and allow to cook further another 10 minutes until bread is at desired crispness.
Baked Penne
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