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Jul 15, 2012

Penne Al Forno

Oh man.
I love it when I find a recipe that i just drool over.
and i saw that now because I made this a few weeks ago and about a week later I was thinking of it and wanted it again. That is when I know that I have a great recipe!
The touch of fennel in here is what seals the deal for me!

Penne Al Forno

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
1 lb. penne pasta
1 onion
1 large clove of garlic
1 lb. Italian sausage or ground hamburger
2 cans tomato sauce
1 Tbsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil
½ tsp. fennel seed
a pinch of red pepper flakes
a pinch of nutmeg
3 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 ¼ cups milk (2%)
Mozzarella Cheese
Parmesan Cheese

Using a large skillet turn heat to medium and add 2 Tbsp. of olive oil.  Chop the onion and mince the garlic.  When the olive oil is hot, add the onion and stir occasionally, after a few minutes add the garlic.  Stir occasionally until the onion is transparent, soft and starting to color.  Add the meat to the onion. Break up the meat as you cook into small pieces. When meat is cooked, add the tomato sauce and spices.  Add salt to taste. Turn the heat down and let it simmer.

Fill a large pot with water and turn heat to high. Once water is boiling add salt and the pasta. Cook until al dente. Do not overcook! It will continue to cook in the oven.

Preheat oven to 420 F.
To make the bechamel sauce, melt the butter in a small pot.  When it’s melted, stir in the flour to make a pasty substance. Whisk continuously. Turn the heat to medium and add the milk a little at a time while stirring constantly.  This will take some time to thicken up but just keep stirring until it thickens.

Using a 9 x 13 or 11 x 15 casserole pan put some red sauce or olive oil on the bottom of the pan.  Put 2 spoonfuls of bechamel in the red sauce and mix.  Make layers in the pan in this order:  pasta, red sauce,  bechamel and mozzarella.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese on the top.

Bake until bubbly and cheese is golden brown about 20-30 minutes. For the last minute or two turn the oven to broil. Watch very carefully. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and serve! 


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