Saturday, February 27, 2010

Baked Penne and Cheese with Broccoli

Below is another great macaroni and cheese dish. I like to refer to this meal as a baked pasta casserole. It is really easy to make and cost effective for a family of four. Serve it up with a great Caesar salad and garlic bread. Let me inspire you to go out of your comfort zone and try making this for your family or friends at your next get together. We cater lots of house parties on Long Island and in Manhattan. Very often we will serve this dish as a component to the buffet. It will often represent the "starch ". If your entertaining a large group try serving it with a whole roasted Filet Mignon drizzled with Cabernet demi, a delicious potato crusted Tilapia Provencal and a fabulous arugula salad.


1 lb. penne pasta cooked al dente
1 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. fresh broccoli crowns, cleaned and cut into 1/2-inch pieces ( blanched and sauteed with garlic and oil)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese

1 teaspoon prepared pesto ( optional)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 egg whites

salt and pepper to taste

hot pepper flakes to taste ( optional)

1 cup cut Grape tomatoes


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray Casserole dish with non-stick spray and set aside. Cook penne al dente toss with a little olive oil and set aside. Blanch broccoli, saute with garlic and oil and set aside. Put ricotta in a bowl and mix in pesto( optional but recommended) and set aside. Cut tomatoes toss with a little oil, s&p and Italian seasoning and set aside.
Toss with penne. Add 3/4cup of the Parmesan, mozzarella, ricotta, eggs and egg whites, and tomatoes to the penne. Mix until well combined. Transfer to the casserole dish. Sprinkle with the remaining grated Parmesan and a little extra shredded mozzarella. Bake in preheated oven until the top is golden brown, approximately 30 minutes.

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