Five Cheese Penne Recipe Challenge

Five Cheese Penne

This recipe for Five Cheese Penne taught me something. I prefer my pasta sauce to lean more toward tomato than cheese. Unless we are talking about boxed mac and cheese and then of course I want that weird orange powder. No judgment. Safe space.

So if you prefer cheesy to tomato-ee then I highly recommend this recipe. I switched out some of the cheeses since there was no way Six would eat Gorgonzola and I waited so long to make the recipe the ricotta turned into a science experiment gone horribly wrong.

So I added in more fontina and left out the ricotta all together. Also, I didn’t have heavy cream so I used whole milk. It was delicious but, and I hesitate to say this, too much cheese for me. Now, I had cheese and crackers for dinner the night before I made this so I love cheese.

Try it yourself and let us know what you think. And feel free to mess around with it the way I did. It is a very forgiving recipe. This recipe is from Contessa Garten’s 2002 cookbook Family Style.

  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1-1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1-1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1-1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot. Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well. Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine. Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1-1/2 to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.



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