Or Penne with Four Cheeses
After noticing that there were very few recipes using penne here on E2, I thought I would help out a little bit by adding a recipe that I've enjoyed quite a few times, and think is definitely worth other people trying.
This dish has a rich but subtle flavor, with an interesting balance of four different mild cheeses, with a little butter and cream to smooth them together. Careful attention should be paid to anything being served alongside this dish, such as the bread and the salad - as the flavor is so subtle that something with a strong flavor, such as focaccia, will leave the dish tasting little more than bland.
This is one of those things that is so tasty and seemingly fancy enough that it can really impress company, while at the same time, it's easy enough to make for just yourself if you feel like it.
Heck, considering the ingredients (mainly pasta and cheese), one can consider it macaroni and cheese taken to a much higher level.
Penne ai Quattro Formaggi
1 lb penne (or other short and tubular pasta)
1 Tbsp butter (unsalted)
4 oz heavy cream
4 oz Fontina cheese, shredded
4 oz Gorgonzola cheese, shredded
2 oz Mascarpone cheese
4 oz Parmesan cheese, grated
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Heat salted water in a pot to a boil. Add the penne, and cook until al dente.
After adding the pasta to the water, put the butter and cream in a saucepan, and heat on low until melted and combined. Add the cheeses, and stir until the cheeses have all melted and smoothly combined with the cream. Remove the mix from the heat as soon as the cheese is melted to prevent any scorching or burning of the sauce.
Lightly drain the pasta when finished (don't rinse - NEVER do that!), return to the cooking pot, and stir in the cheese sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Place into 4 warmed pasta bowls, and serve immediately. The warmed bowls and immediate serving are very important, as this dish can cool rather rapidly - neglecting to do them will likely result in the pasta and sauce being cold by the time the dish is finished. And it's not as good cold.