The fine folks at Garofalo Pasta saw fit to send me another bag of pasta to try out. I used my bag of pasta to create a lovely 5 cheese pasta bake.
Yeah, it’s totally a picture of an empty bag. I forgot to photograph it before I dropped the pasta in the water. D’oh!
In any case, I kept this pretty simple. I did a tomato-cream sauce and added mozzarella, ricotta, and a 3 cheese blend of cheese shavings (Parmesan, Romano and Asiago) giving us 5 cheeses. I also added hot Italian sausage, garlic and fresh basil leaves to the mixture.
I got my cheese from Trader Joe’s (minus the ricotta) – they have a 16oz fresh mozzarella log for about $5.29 which is really tasty. The 3 cheese blend is also less than $3 bucks (I think it’s like $2.29) and is also really fresh and tasty. I get the hot Italian sausage because I like that extra kick of flavor (and it’s never really that hot anyway).
I usually make my own sauce from scratch, but I was feeling lazy this day. I pretty much just put some olive oil in a pot, added the garlic, sausage and some leftover ground beef we had from another night and cooked those all together. Then I put in a can of Hunt’s Garlic & Basil tomato sauce and about a half a cup of half and half (until the sauce blushed to a pinkish color).
I put this together almost like I would a lasagna – except that I had par-boiled Garofalo penne instead of lasagna noodles. Easier to handle anyway.
After I finished layering that ricotta, I topped it off with the rest of the pasta and dumped the rest of my cheese shavings all over the top. Then this went off into the oven for about 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. For the last few minutes I turned the broiler on to make the top a little bubbly.
All done! The cheeses melted really nicely around the pasta and the sauce clung pretty well to the pasta. It was oogey googey and cheesey delicious. Jake and son totally loved it and helped themselves to seconds; actually, I did, too. It was pretty darn tasty. Jake liked it so much he suggested I make it again for our friend, Chris, who came into town for a visit. We had this meal twice within the span of a few days. Booyah.
5 Cheese Pasta Bake
Garofalo Penne Pasta (or other similar tube shaped pasta)
Mozzarella cheese, cut into cubes
3 cheese blend (Parmesan, Romano, Asiago)
Fresh basil leaves
Few cloves of garlic, chopped
Can of Hunt’s Garlic & Basil tomato sauce
1/2 to 1 cup of half & half
Hot Italian sausage links
Add ingredients and measurements to your liking! Assemble like a lasagna! Be sure to undercook the pasta since it’ll be going into the oven for a bit. I took the pasta out of the water after about 9 minutes (it’s supposed to cook for 11 minutes).
Boil pasta – be sure to take it out early (see notes above). Cook sausage, beef and garlic together until sausage is almost all of the way cooked. It can finish off in the oven. Add half & half until sauce it blushed a nice pink color (1/2 to 1 cup, use to your liking). Also add your fresh chopped basil in and then add pasta to sauce pasta and stir together. Add mozzarella cubes to pasta & sauce. Put about half of the mixture into a baking pan. Top with ricotta cheese and half of the 3 cheese blend mixture. Top off with the remainder of the pasta and the rest of the cheese. Bake for about 20-25 minutes until golden and bubbly.