Recipe: Penne al Forno (It's Great for Entertaining!)

Last weekend Boyfriend and I hosted a little Game Night get-together at our house. Since we were having a good amount of people over, I jumped at the chance to try out a Nadia G. recipe (Bitchin' Kitchen).

Can you tell we like Bitchin' Kitchen...? I'm pretty sure Pearl wants to actually BE Nadia G. Like, in real life.

Penne al Forno

INGREDIENTS (bolognese)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 tsp chili flakes
1 red onion, minced
8 oz ground beef
4 cups San Marzano tomatoes, hand crushed
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp raw sugar
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp sea salt
-fresh ground pepper to taste

-1 lb penne lisce pasta
-1 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan

For the bolognese: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and chili flakes and fry until golden (about 1 min). Add onions and saute till crispy (8-10 min).

Add ground beef and cook until crumbled. Add tomatoes, parsley, oregano, sugar, bay leaf, sea salt, and pepper. Mix and simmer for 20 min.

For the pasta: Bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook till almost al dente (8-9 min). Drain.

To assemble: Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 15x10 baking dish with butter.

In a bowl, mix pasta with half of the bolognese. Put a light layer of this pasta into the baking dish, followed by 1/4 cup sauce, 1/3 cup mozzarella, and 1 tbsp parmesan. Repeat with second layer till everything is used up.

Place in oven and bake until edges are golden and bubbly, approx 30 min.

Pig the fuck out.

-I used salted butter. Because that's what I buy.
-I used about 1/4 of chili flakes because I'm not a big fan of spicy food.
-I only bought one can of San Marzano tomatoes, which turned out to only be half the amount I needed. Being the resourceful person I am, I just substituted Ragu Traditional sauce for the other half. Also, it's because I'm fancy.
-I used way more than the suggested amount of cheese. Maybe twice as much mozzarella and four times as much parmesan.
-You know those free packets of red peppers that come with pizza? And the brown packets of "raw" sugar at Starbucks? I used those instead of buying a whole box of each. I never use those ingredients and they're the perfect serving size. And, I'm cheap.
-I was also a little nervous about using a whole red onion. We actually only went with half.

Boyfriend and I were very happy with the meal (it was fucking delicious). All of our guests had full plates and I even had enough for a few leftovers. And believe me, I ate the shit out of those leftovers.

Other things I like to eat (from game night)...

kettle corn from the farmer's market thanks to our friends Todd and Alex

baked brie thanks to our friends Melissa and Justin

my favorite green salad

dessert tartlettes thanks to my friend Rawnie

and Old Fashion cocktails thanks to Boyfriend

You should plan a game night too.



Lorraine said...

If I plan a game night will you come make all of that for me and my frans? PLEEEAAASE? PLEEEEAAASE? You can totally bring the cute kid. :)


Mandy_Fish said...

That picture is hilarious!

And I want to make this now.

The Tsaritsa a.k.a. Alexandra Naughton said...

Wow! I wish I lived closer so I could crash your next party and eat those tasty snacks! The Penne Al Forno looks awesome. I make my baked ziti very similarly.

Looks scrumptious, and your Pearl is too cute for words :)

Kara said...

I absolutely love that you can use a cooking post as a vessel for several curse words!! Fuckin' shit yeah!

Kim said...

Wow! All of those things look amazing! Can I get in on these game nights of yours? If only just for the food?

Wombat Central said...

That is WAY more Klassy than the fare we typically offer at game night! Yum. :)

Also, Pearl is totally adorable.

Sara Louise said...

Because I live in a bubble (aka France) I hadn't heard of Bitchin Kitchen, and since that pasta looks sick (in the good way) I'm on may way over to You Tube!

Deborah said...

Aaaah, that penne! Looks absolutely delicious.

What is your favorite salad? I'd like that recipe, please?

I'm all over Old Fashioneds lately! Nummy num num.

You're Lucky I Don't Have a Gun... said...

LORRAINE - I'm always down for a game night! However, Florida might be a bit far.

MANDY - Thanks! She really does love that show. I even caught her playing with her own kitchen set, referring to it (in a whispered voice) as "Bitchin' Kitchen".

ALEXANDRA - I love baked ziti, but I've never actually tried to make it. Do you put meat in yours? I've only tried it without.

KARA - Thanks for stopping by! BTW- I can't make it through a post without using curse words. :)

KIM - Let me know when you're in the area.

WOMBAT - Our snacks are definitely not always this fancy. In case you forgot about my birthday last year, allow me to remind you- dino nuggets, chips/dip, and frozen pizzas. :)

SARA - It may take a while to get past her accent, but stick with it. I've seen some pretty tasty recipes on that show.

DEBS - My favorite side salad consists of: mixed greens, a packet of dried cranberries/ glazed walnut salad toppers, crumbled feta, and balsamic. It's light, but not boring.

The Tsaritsa a.k.a. Alexandra Naughton said...

Sometimes I put meat in the ziti, but it depends on who I'm cooking for. If I'm cooking for me and Ben I'll make a meat sauce and use different cheeses that I like (pepper jack, provelone, parm). I made a veggie version a few weeks ago for my veggie friend-- chopped carrots and celery and squash, and other goodies.

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