One of my favorite parts of winter is the cozy and hearty meals we can enjoy. While we are only experiencing a mild cold front here in South Florida, I am a creature of habit. I need baked goodness throughout the winter, and that includes my dinner! This Three-Cheese Baked Penne os a cheesy wonder that crept its way into my heart years ago and I haven’t looked back. It’s my indulgence on a cool winter evening, and an excuse to get cheesy. Pun intended.
It’s a lot like a baked ziti (without the ziti), born of necessity. It includes ricotta and mozzarella cheeses, and of course my favorite, Parmigiano Reggiano. The creamy ricotta lends to the heartiness of this dish, while the gooey mozzarella provides comfort that only cheese can bring. The parmesan is perfect for adding those crispy edges that are my favorite part!
You start with some cooked pasta (penne in this case) and boil it until al dente, saute some ground sausage meat and add to the pot. Incorporate your favorite marinara, ricotta, and mozzarella cheese. Grate some fresh parmesan over the hot pasta and take a big whiff! This baby is already your favorite dish. Add the mixture to your greased baking dish and top with some more mozzarella. That’s right, you heard me.
Pop it in the oven at 375 degrees covered for twenty minutes, then add some more of the fresh grated parmesan (for that golden crust). Another ten to twelve minutes in the oven and let it sit on the countertop for another fifteen. This smoky, hot, cheesy dish is just begging for a big ol’… SALAD! Let’s face it, folks, with this much pasta you are going to need to counteract it with some heavy greenery. I like to chop some fresh basil and sprinkle it into the pasta, but… my youngest son is currently boycotting basil, so a sprig will have to do for now.
Enjoy! I know I will.
Thanks to Parmigiano Reggiano for partnering up with me to sponsor this post, and for single-handedly enabling my obsession with cheese. As always, all opinions expressed are 100% my own.