Penne with Many Cheeses & Fromage Fort

Baked Penne

Democrats always like to brag that their guys are smarter than the opponents and Republicans always like to brag that their guys are more moral than the opponents. But if you’re looking for morals in politics you’re looking for bananas in the cheese department.
~ Harry Shearer ~

Having chosen two books off the shelf to cook from this week I started with recipes using cheese as my cheese drawer is full of little chunks that need to be used up and the best thing to do is make a pasta dinner dish and a cheese “spread” both surprisingly simple and good.

If you ever need to finish off the small quantities of cheese Penne with “many” cheeses and Fromage Fort from Chez Jacques are absolute treasures for those small quantities that would otherwise go into the “science experiment category”.  The amounts of cheese changed according to what I had on hand, I was short on cream and added more ricotta, I already had a blend of Parmigiano, Romano, Asiago, and provolone grated and added it to the cheese mix. 

What a great pasta dish this was, Mikey liked it! 

Penne with Tomato, Cream & Five or More Cheeses

Adapted from Cucina Simpatica
Serves 4

2 cups heavy cream
1 cup chopped canned tomatoes in heavy puree
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
 1/2 cup coarsely shredded Fontina cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese (1 1/2 ounces)
3 tablespoons ricotta cheese
1/4 pound thinly sliced fresh mozzarella cheese
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta water
6 fresh basil leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pound penne rigate
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, sliced thinly

  1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  3. Combine all ingredients except the pasta and butter. Stir well to combine.
  4. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.
  5. Divide the pasta mixture among six to eight shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2 cups in capacity) or place in a shallow (1-inch) layer in larger baking dishes. Dot with the butter, and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

Penne Ready to Bake

Sadly the Fromage Fort has not photographed well so I’ll add it to the page when I actually broil it tomorrow.

Fromage Fort adapted from Chez Jacques

1/2 pound cheese pieces
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup dry white wine
Black pepper

Today’s selection of cheese happened to be Roquefort, Monterrey Jack, Provolone, and another couple of pieces of Italian cheeses that didn’t have labels, they all went into the small food processor bowl.

  1. Put about 1/2 pound of cheese pieces in the bowl of a food processor, add 1 garlic clove, 1/4 cup of dry white wine and freshly ground black pepper.  Process for 30 seconds or so, until the mixture is creamy but not too soft, and then pack it into small containers. The fromage fort is ready to use now, either served cold or spread on bread and broiled for a few minutes. Broiling will brown the cheese and make it wonderfully fragrant.