Thursday, April 03, 2008

Baked Penne alla Carbonara

A quick recipe to peruse or try out ... I made this for a group of Rose's friends when she had about 10 of them over before a scavenger hunt. It was a big hit and I still get comments occasionally from the kids when they drop by. Anyone who knows teenagers knows how rare that is!

My only comment is that something separated or rendered a lot of oil in the bottom of the casserole after baking. Perhaps making the sauce with milk instead of cream (which seemed overdoing it at the time but I followed the recipe. That is the only troubleshooting though ...

From Perfect Party Food by Diane Phillips.

Serves 10 as a side dish

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup chopped shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1/4 cup flour
1-1/2 cups heavy cream (I will use whole milk in the future)
1/2 cup chicken broth
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
1/2 to 1-1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Salt (optional) to taste
1 pound penne pasta, cooked according to package directions until al dente and drained
2 tablespoons olive oil
12 strips bacon, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, coked until crisp, and drained on paper towels (app. 3/4 pound)
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Step 1
In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter, add the shallots and thyme, and cook, stirring, until softened, about 3 minutes. Whisk in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, until the flour is cooked, but hasn't turned color, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in the cream and broth and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Stir in 1 cup of the Parmesan and season with pepper and with salt if desired.

Step 2
Coat a 13x9-inch baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and sprinkle 1/4 cup of the remaining Parmesan over the bottom. In a large bowl, toss the hot penne with the olive oil.

Step 3
Stir the sauce into the penne, then stir in the bacon and mozzarella. Transfer to the prepared pan and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup of Parmesan.

Diva Do-Ahead: At this point, you can cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before continuing.

Step 4
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Bake the penne until golden brown, about 30 minutes. Let rest for about 5 minutes before serving.


Karen Osler said...

My recipe doesn't have the olive oil (I went to her class last weekend- I wonder if that's why yours separated?) I have made this twice without issue.Not sure if that's helpful? Awesome recipe! Thanks for typing it out!

Julie D. said...

Olive oil wouldn't make a sauce separate, at least not that small amount. I have had that experience with other recipes calling for heavy cream before. When I changed to whole milk, it didn't separate. And it's plenty heavy without the cream ... I agree - it is delicious. :-)