Thursday, May 3, 2012

More Cookbook Recipes

Lately, I've been having a great deal of trouble with my neck and shoulders. I thought I was recovered from my injury a couple weeks ago, but apparently I was mistaken because yesterday I woke up and my left trapezius muscle was again inflamed, rendering me mostly useless for much of the day. (I can never enjoy my days off anymore. Boo.)

I've also been rather brief with food supplies, so when my boyfriend came over and suggested we cook dinner together, it required a trip to Meijer for ingredients. We ended up making a penne bake that he found in one of his cookbooks found on a discount book mission. What we picked up from the store are as follows:
  • one pound of penne pasta
  • one tub of ricotta cheese
  • a thing of sliced fresh white mushrooms
  • 8oz of heavy whipping cream
  • a triangle of fontina cheese because we couldn't find it pre-shredded
  • a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes
I think that was it. I'm very sorry, but I did not take notes. Anyway, while Greg shredded the fontina and combined it with the crushed tomatoes, whipping cream, and mushrooms, I cooked the penne to al dente. (I told you I was limited in my capabilities right now.) 

In a 9x13 baking pan, Greg poured in the liquidy mixture, then on top of that, I spread the pasta. The recipe then said to dollop the ricotta on top of that, and not to worry about spreading it out, which we did. Next time, I'd probably try to spread it out some, or just put on smaller and more widespread dollops. Since ricotta is such a dry, bland cheese, I don't require large bites of it when consuming it in a dish.

I believe we baked it for 15 minutes on 350 degrees, but it might have been 375. Since nothing in the dish is in dire need of being cooked, as meat would be, I don't think it really matters. The end result was rather soupy, but still delicious. I think the heavy whipping cream made all the difference. 

I think if I made this again on my own, I would mix the pasta in with the sauce before baking it, though it all came out mixed together, so perhaps it doesn't matter. Mixing it in with the sauce would case the pasta to absorb more of the liquid, which might make it mushy. I have only half an idea how that works from my few times making lasagna. Mushy pasta is a travesty, so I wouldn't want that. 

In conclusion, I guess this recipe merits further experimentation. Oh darn. (My Sicilian blood tingles.)

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