Thursday, September 18, 2014

Penne Pasta Bake

This dish is crazy easy and devoured by all.

1 box of penne
1 jar of marinara sauce
1 jar of a quality Alfredo  sauce - I have found that all Alfredo sauce is not created equal. Skip the value brands and go for a good quality sauce. I like new the Newmans brand.
2 cups of mozzarella cheese-divided
Parmesan to top

Cook the pasta as directed on the box. In a large bowl mix marinara and alfredo, add the hot pasta and combine. Add 1.5 cups of cheese and stir it until the cheese is evenly distributed. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish and top with the remaining cheese and grated Parmesan. Bake at 350 until the cheese is melted and bubbly, maybe 20-30 minutes but I really don't know the exact. I just watch it.

Creamy Tomato Soup

2 quarts of canned tomatoes (diced or whole)
1 garlic clove
1/4 onion
2 1/2 t. Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Flavor Bouillon) (this can be found in the mexican section of most grocery stores, Walmart and Costco) I am sure you can use chicken bouillon cubes as well.
1-2 quarts of milk
1/4 c. butter
1/4 c. flour
basil, oregano, pepper to taste


There is no exactness to this - you have to do it to taste, desired thickness, and desired amount - it can be easily halved. This amount easily serves 10 people.

Place tomatoes, garlic, onion, basil, oregano, and chicken bouillon in blender on high. Allow to run for a couple of minutes. Meanwhile, melt butter in heavy bottomed pan on med-high. Add flour and mix, making a nice roux. This may need more or less flour. You want a thick paste (almost too thick) consistency. While stirring, allow to cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn. Place sieve over pan, and pour tomato mixture into roux, straining out all seeds. Quickly stir into roux, making sure to
eliminate any lumps. Continue stirring until entire mixture is smooth, heated, and on the brink of 
boiling. Add milk (once again - to taste and desired thickness), stirring constantly. Heat stirring constantly, but do not bring to a boil (this will curdle the milk) and serve. Season with pepper and fresh basil to taste. 

You can garnish with Parmesan or mozzarella cheese or I like to serve this with mozzarella grilled cheese sandwiches.