Indulging in Ina Garten’s Heavenly 5-Cheese Penne Pasta The Ultimate Comfort Dish
Indulging in Ina Garten's 5-Cheese Penne Pasta A Heavenly Comfort Dish
I made Ina Garten’s five-cheese penne pasta and it was super comforting.
By Anneta Konstantinides
As temperatures start to dip and we settle back into our favorite sweaters, it’s time to whip up some comforting meals for dinner. And no chef soothes me more than the sensational Ina Garten and her mouthwatering pasta recipes.
So when I discovered that the “Barefoot Contessa” star has a penne pasta with not one, not two, but five different cheeses, I was left drooling and thinking, “This is gonna be cheesy heaven!”
Garten’s five-cheese penne is a true work of art. It combines Gorgonzola, fontina, mozzarella, Romano, and ricotta cheeses in a glorious symphony of flavor. And let me tell you, this dish is as rich as a billionaire’s closet, without being too heavy. It’s like wrapping yourself in a cozy cashmere sweater on a chilly autumn evening.
To indulge in this cheesy extravaganza, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients: – 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano – 1/2 cup shredded Italian fontina – 1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola – 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced – 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
Now, I must confess, I couldn’t find the elusive Pecorino Romano in my local supermarket’s little fromagerie. So, being the resourceful gourmet that I am, I made a quick Google search to find out if it’s identical to Romano cheese. Well, turns out I accidentally bought cow’s milk Romano instead of the sheep’s milk Pecorino Romano that Garten recommends. But hey, both cheeses are known for their sharp flavors, so the cheese gods will forgive my slight deviation, right?
But enough about cheese shenanigans! Let me tell you about the other ingredients you’ll need: – 1 pound penne rigate pasta (because smooth penne is just too mainstream, right?) – 2 cups heavy cream (to make it extra luxurious) – 1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree (for that beautiful red hue) – 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped (because it’s not a proper Italian dish without some fragrant basil)
Before we dive into the saucy, cheesy goodness, let’s get some prep work done. Preheat your oven to a blazing 500 degrees Fahrenheit and start grating and measuring out those cheeses. I mean, just look at those mountains of cheesy goodness! It’s like discovering a hidden treasure chest filled with gold!
Now, I must admit, this part of Garten’s recipe requires a little effort. Grating those cheeses was, shall we say, a bit of an arm workout. Next time, I might channel my inner culinary ninja and finely chop the fontina instead. Trust me, trying to grate creamy fontina is like trying to ice skate in stilettos – it’s slippery business!
Once you’ve conquered the cheese grating task, mix it all together in a bowl. Behold the sight of the creamy ricotta swirling alongside the sharp Romano. It’s like a beautiful ballet of dairy perfection!
But wait! We’re not done yet. We still need to add the remaining ingredients. Toss in the crushed tomatoes and heavy cream, and, for a touch of freshness, sprinkle in that beautiful chopped basil. It’s like adding a colorful bouquet to an already glorious masterpiece.
Now, it’s time to tackle the pasta itself. According to Garten’s recipe, we’re not supposed to completely cook the penne. Just parboil it for four minutes in a pot of salted water. It’s like giving the penne a little spa treatment before it dives into the cheesy jacuzzi.
After the parboiling session, drain the noodles and put them back into the same pot. Now comes the exciting part: pour that heavenly cheesy pink mixture over the penne. Make sure every noodle gets cozy in that pretty pink pool of cheese. It’s like creating a luxurious hot tub filled with the creamiest cheese bubbles.
Garten suggests dividing your pasta into “shallow ceramic gratin dishes.” But let’s be real here, who has that lying around? So, I decided to embrace my inner minimalism and turned this into a one-pot wonder. Less dishes to clean means more time to enjoy your cheesy masterpiece!
Before we pop it in the oven, let’s add a touch of indulgence. Garten’s recipe calls for half a stick of unsalted butter to dot the penne pasta with. But honestly, that sounded like a shocking amount of butter. So I took a firm stand against heart attacks and reduced it to just one delightful tablespoon. I mean, we want to enjoy this dish without turning into human butterballs, right?
The oven awaits our cheesy creation. Garten suggests cooking the pasta until it’s “bubbly and brown” on top, estimating it’ll take around seven to ten minutes. But remember, every oven has its own quirky personality. So be patient as the delectable aroma of cheese fills your kitchen and the penne starts to dance in the bubbling cheese lake.
Finally, it’s time to take out that glorious masterpiece. The pasta emerges from the fiery oven with a golden-brown crust, like it has been kissed by the culinary gods themselves. The mozzarella chunks that have risen to the surface are like little cheesy treasures, begging you to take another spoonful.
Now, brace yourself for the moment of truth. After all this cheesy anticipation, does the five-cheese penne live up to its glorious reputation? Well, my dear fellow food lovers, the answer is an emphatic YES! The dish is a symphony of flavors that melt together harmoniously. It’s like indulging in a warm, cheesy hug from Ina Garten herself.
“As soft as a warm blanket,” exclaimed my friend Molly after taking her first heavenly bite. “But the cheese isn’t overwhelming,” added Joe, another taste-tester in our delicious experiment.
To add a little zing, Molly suggested sprinkling some red pepper flakes on top. It’s like giving your taste buds a gentle wake-up call amidst the sea of creamy richness. An exquisite contrast of crusty pieces and gooey cheeses hides within each bite, surprising and delighting your palate.
So, dear fashionistas and food enthusiasts, this five-cheese penne is undoubtedly a must-have dish for the fall and winter seasons. It encapsulates the warmth of a cozy cashmere sweater, the crackling of a roaring fireplace, and the decadence of a mug of hot cocoa – all wrapped up in one glorious, cheese-filled bowl.
If you want to experience the cheesy magic for yourself, follow Ina Garten’s recipe. But remember, don’t be afraid to put your own cheesy twist on it. After all, fashion and culinary creativity go hand in hand, darling!
So, get ready to embrace the cheesy goodness and prepare for a heavenly pasta experience. And remember, as Ina herself would say, “How easy is that?” Enjoy!