Penne Quattro Formaggi
It’s time for some comfort food! A big bowl of pasta smothered in cheese sauce fits the bill perfectly. Today I have a recipe for you that I have adapted from one that was given to our family by my Italian friend, Concetta (but everyone called her Connie). When my family first arrived in Munich, I knew much more Italian than German. Truthfully, I remembered about a pinky finger’s worth of Italian from my study abroad in Venice smzsmps years ago, compared with about a quarter pinky finger’s worth of German. So Connie and I communicated in Italian rather than German, and we hit it off nicely. Connie came to our house to prepare this for us, because my daughter was collecting recipes for a home economics project. As Connie cooked and described this in Italian, I quickly wrote down the recipe, so my recipe is bilingual.
WHAT IT IS
Penne is, of course, a tube-shaped pasta, and any small pasta works for this dish. Quattro means “four” and formaggi means “cheeses,” so this is four cheeses pasta, and I’m sure you already knew that. A Pasta Quattro Formaggi dish can use almost any combination of cheeses. I have seen recipes that call for Brie, ricotta, Gruyère, Edam, mozzarella, goat cheese, and even Cheddar. (But really, please don’t use Cheddar if you want to be Italian about it.)
It will typically start, as most Italian recipes do, with sautéed garlic and/or onion. There are usually additional flavorings, such as parsley, white wine, or in this case, dry broth. You can tweak it any way you like, depending on your preferences and ingredients–you have free rein with this recipe. Try it, and tell us how it turned out!
BRING IT HOME
This recipe makes enough sauce to cover a pound of pasta.
Penne Quattro Formaggi
One onion, finely chopped (proprio piccolo, piccolo, piccolo). Heat a little olive oil and 2 TBSP butter in a pan. Sauté until the onions are soft and cooked. Add 2 cups heavy cream. Bring to a boil. Add 1/2 cup (100 grams) Gorgonzola, piece by piece and 1/2 cup (100 grams) Crumbled Goat Cheese (not Feta). Add fontina cheese (formaggio di pizza), grated, 1 cup (200 grams). Mix. Also add 2 TSP dry broth and parsley, chopped. And a little bit of pepper.
Pour it over the pasta. Then add a generous portion of Parmigiano over the pasta and sauce.
*Note. Beware of the blue! Gorgonzola is the Italian version of blue cheese (its veins are actually green), and it’s strong stuff. Be sure to use the sweet Gorgonzola; it has a creamy, rather than a dry and crumbly texture. If you love Gorgonzola, you may want to increase the amount in this dish.
A website that I particularly like for learning more about cheeses is www.thenibble.com. Go to the product reviews section, and from there go to cheeses. Or, try www.thenibble.com/reviews/main/cheese. A great cheese blog is www.canadacheeseman.wordpress.com. Check out his post on Pecorino Crotonese–Sheep’s Milk Cheese from Italy!