#365Recipes :: Penne with Four Cheeses

Penne with Four Cheeses

It’s been a while since I made something to contribute to the #365Recipes project, but here you go!

Who doesn’t like a nice warm, cozy bowl of creamy pasta?  On these cooler fall nights, it’s one of my favoritest things to eat.  This penne with four cheeses pasta recipe is one I dug out from the bottom of my recipe archives, and old favorite that I had long forgotten about, after omitting grains from my diet for so long.  When I saw it sitting in my old recipe binder, I immediately remembered it – the smell, the creaminess, the pungent, grown-up flavor of grown-up cheeses.  I just love comfy pasta dishes, I could actually inhale them but I try to be a civilized human being whenever possible.

This dish is easily halved for smaller portions, and would reheat well if you could heat it slowly with a little bit of milk or cream to keep the cheese sauce intact.

Penne with Four Cheeses
Serves 4-6

1 pound penne pasta
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 ounces grated Fontina cheese
3 ounces crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
3 ounces Mascarpone cheese
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook pasta in boiling water until al dente, and drain. Meanwhile, heat butter and cream in a saucepan and whisk together over low heat until butter has melted. Stir in all of the cheeses, and continue whisking until they have all completely melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the drained pasta back into the pot you cooked it in, and pour the sauce over top. Stir to combine, keeping warm over medium-low heat. Serve hot, along with additional Parmesan cheese if you wish.

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#52NewEats :: Week 41 :: Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta

It is pretty much a given, that if a recipe has the word “creamy” in the title, I will be all about it.  I looooove creamy sauces and dishes.  Can’t get enough.  Creamy sauces for drowning, dousing, blanketing, dipping, smothering… are all my favoritest sauces ever.  I would eat piles of vegetables if I could drown them all in creamy sauces.

Which… maybe isn’t such a bad idea… but I digress.

So when I happened upon //this pasta dish for Creamy Tomato Mascarpone Pasta//, I couldn’t wait to make it.  This kind of pasta is the best – you get some vegetable matter with the tomatoes and the spinach, but you also get the velvety lusciousness of a creamy sauce.  This was a DELICIOUS pasta dish, and it was so easy, since you make everything in one pot!!

The original recipe makes A LOT, so I cut it in half and it was more than enough for us, and I gave the rest to my brother and his wife, who just had a baby!  Also, instead of tomato puree, I used tomato paste.  I always chop the spinach a little bit so it wilts faster.

This recipe really is a keeper, head on over to //the original recipe// and try it out!


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#52NewEats :: Week 5 :: Cacio e Pepe

Cacio e Pepe

Over the summer, I took a girls overnight trip to NYC with my mom, sister, and daughter.  We had dinner at this amazing restaurant called //Cacio e Pepe//, and the whole reason we went was so we could eat… cacio e pepe.  I had seen some //videos on Instagram// of them mixing up the pasta in a giant wheel of Parmesan cheese and knew I had to have a dish.  The best part – my daughter got her own plate and she actually liked it!

So when I found this recipe by //smitten kitchen//, I knew I had to try it.

As much as I love everything smitten kitchen, I wasn’t sure I would be 100% sold on this recipe.  Would it even measure up to the cacio e pepe I had in NYC?  And also the last 4 recipes I’ve made were good but there was always something I wanted to change or tweak with them.  Well this recipe??  I wouldn’t change a single thing!


This recipe is absolutely perfection the way it is.  Like Deb says in her post, I was not even sure how pasta water, olive oil, and cheese would all come together and make a delicious, creamy, cheesy sauce, but with some kind of kitchen science wizardry, it does.  I was never a fan of adding pasta water to sauces, as I prefer thick, creamy sauces – but I am now a believer in that starchy cooking water.

My husband is not a pasta eater, and even HE said “Wow, this is good.”

My daughter IS a pasta eater, but she said “Meh, it’s too peppery.”  She’s silly.  The one she ate in NYC had giant cracked peppercorns in it.  Maybe she flicked them all off though.  It is NOT too peppery.  It was just right.

This recipe is officially on the rotation in my house.  It was so easy to make, and it tasted so much like the one I had in NYC; it transported me right back there.  Please go check out smitten kitchen’s blog, she is a true inspiration to me.  And you definitely need to make this pasta!

Cacio e Pepe
Serves 4-6

1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
1 1/2 teaspoon finely ground black pepper
Salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups reserved pasta cooking water

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a small handful of salt. Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. When the spaghetti is finished cooking, BEFORE DRAINING, measure out 1 1/2 cups of the pasta cooking water and set aside. Drain the pasta and return the pot to the stove.

2. In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add pasta back to the pot, and add about 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Deb warns in her recipe it may splatter mightily, but I did not heat my oil that hot, so I did not experience this. But be warned, it could happen. Add the butter, 3 ounces of the cheese, and the ground pepper, and toss with tongs to combine. Be patient, it will come together. Keep tossing until it turns cheesy and delicious. Add more cheese if you’d like, or you can top each portion with some of the cheese just before serving.

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#52NewEats :: Week 4 :: Creamy Asiago Cheese Garlic Tortellini

For this week’s 52 New Eats recipe, I chose – yet another – sorry not sorry but actually yes a little sorry – pasta recipe.  This week though, my daughter picked it out, and she wanted to choose because she hasn’t liked any of the recipes I’ve made so far.  🙄  I know, I know.  I need to work on her.  She’s getting there though.

So we picked this recipe and I wondered if it would be similar to my own //Creamy Roasted Garlic Tortellini// recipe, which is hands-down my favoritest pasta recipe on this planet.  And it is somewhat similar, but really only in that it’s a tortellini-and-creamy-sauce dish.

Maraea helped me prepare this meal – she has been very interested lately in helping out in the kitchen so I am giving her as many jobs as I can.  She wants to do things like grate garlic and shred cheese though, and it makes me nervous.  I will still occasionally grate my fingernail off or shred off a piece of my finger.  I’m worried she will do the same.  I don’t know though.  Maybe I’m being too overprotective.  #momstuff

Anyway, the original recipe is //here//, and below are my thoughts.  Oh, and in case you are wondering, yes, kiddo DID like this dish.  Finally, a winner!

🍴The sauce stayed pretty thin for us, so I ended up adding a handful of Parmesan cheese to see if it would help thicken a little.  It did, but just a little.  If you’re looking for a really thick creamy sauce, this is not for you.  It’s a thinner cream sauce, but still flavorful.

🍴10oz of tortellini was really only enough to feed the 3 of us, and we each had some pieces of a baguette as a side with some butter.  Ten ounces of tortellini is not enough for 4 servings in my opinion, unless of course you serve a couple other sides – like bread AND salad.  This could easily feed two hungry adults.  (Should it feed two hungry adults?  I think that’s another question entirely.  😉)

🍴I would recommend that if you’re interested in making this recipe, read the comments section at the original recipe’s website.  Several people had the same issue I had with the sauce never getting very thick – for some people it came down to the brand of Asiago used.

Creamy Asiago Garlic Tortellini
Serves 2-3

10oz refrigerated cheese tortellini
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 tablespoon butter
5 garlic cloves, grated
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken stock
1 cup grated Asiago cheese
Handful of Parmesan cheese (about 1/3 cup)
Salt and pepper to taste
Minced fresh parsley

1. Cook tortellini according to package instructions and drain.

2. Heat olive oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add grated garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly so it won’t burn.

3. Add chicken stock and heavy cream, and stir. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, add cheeses and reduce heat to a simmer. Continue to stir to keep from burning. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

4. Add tortellini and stir together and continue to cook for a couple of minutes, until the pasta is well-combined with the sauce and warmed together. Stir in minced parsley. Then serve!

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