Thursday, November 4, 2010

Penne with Five Cheeses ~ as it is made at Al Forno in Providence

Mike and I don't  go out to dinner as often as we would like.  That is why I love coming across recipes that  are simple to make at home but result in a restaurant quality dish.  

Johanne Killeen and George Germon are the owners of the renowned restaurant Al Forno, located in Providence.   These chef/owners are also the authors of an amazing cookbook called Cucina Simpatica.  Their book showcases Killeen and Germon's magial style of putting together ingredients simply, yet with an outcome that is complex and tantalizing.  

Penne with five cheeses is one of the recipes featured in their fabulous cookbook.  It is simple yet versatile and works well for either a weeknight meal or dinner party.  The original recipe calls for the pasta to be baked in six separate gratin dishes.  I loved that idea but unfortunately do not own a set so I used a 9 X 13 baking dish.  If you are lucky enough to have six, 1 1/2 cup gratin dishes, spoon the pasta into them and bake at 500 degrees for 7-10 minutes.

Prep Ahead Plan:  Prepare the recipe the night before and leave covered in the fridge overnight.  Before baking, uncover and give the penne a good mixing before baking it.


  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino Romano (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup shredded imported Italian fontina (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup crumbled Italian Gorgonzola (1 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
  • 6 fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 pound imported penne rigate pasta
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter


1.  Spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray (or butter it). Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.  Cook penne in boiling water for 5 minutes.  Drain well.
3. Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in the 9 X 13 pan and mix well. 
4.  Mix penne into the pan with the rest of ingredients.
5.  Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 20-25 minutes.


  1. This is Barefoot Contessa's recipe!!!

  2. Yes!!! She features Al Forno's recipe in one of her cookbooks! I think it is in Barefoot Contessa's Family Dinners but the original recipe is from Johanne and George.