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MARIO BATALI Baked Penne with Double Cheese Fondue and Pretzel Topping

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Craving something savory & decadent? This Baked Penne dish is sure to hit the spot.

ingredients
 BAKED PENNE WITH DOUBLE CHEESE FONDUE AND PRETZEL TOPPING

BAKED PENNE ALLA VODKA

  • 1 pound penne
  • 6 slices bacon (cooked and chopped)
  • 1 jar store-bought vodka sauce (24 ounces)
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (freshly grated)
  • 2 cups pretzels (crushed)
  • 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated, for garnish)

PARMESAN LEEK FONDUE

  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano (grated)
  • 3/4 cup Fontina cheese (grated)
  • 2 leeks (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
directions
  • Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook penne 1 minute short of al dente. Drain reserving some of the pasta water if necessary.
  • In a large sauté pan, cook bacon over medium heat for 10 minutes until cooked but not too crispy. Remove the bacon and chop. Drain the fat from the pan. Add the vodka sauce, nutmeg, chopped bacon and bring to a simmer. Add the cooked penne and toss to coat. Add reserved pasta water if needed. Transfer penne with vodka sauce to the baking dish. Top with the Parmesan leek fondue, crushed pretzels and extra cheese. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden.
  • For Parmesan Leek Fondue: in a large sauté pan, add the olive oil and place over medium heat. Add the leeks and sauté until tender, about 5-6 minutes. 
  • In a large heatproof bowl add the cream and cheese and mix together. Place over a double boiler and stir just until the cheese melts. Add the cooked leeks and mix. Season with salt and black pepper.
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