Penne with Five Cheeses

From Ina Garten, adaptations noted.  Amazing for serving many people!

Ingredients

  • Kosher salt
  • 1 cup half & half [orig recipe calls for 2 cups heavy cream]
  • 2 cups crushed tomatoes in thick tomato puree [orig recipe calls for 1 cup]
  • 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 [any sauce-grabbing noodle will work]
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

Directions
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Bring 5 quarts of salted water to a boil in a stockpot.

Combine all the ingredients except the penne and butter in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.

Drop the penne into the boiling water and parboil for 4 minutes. Drain well in a colander and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl, tossing to combine.

Divide the pasta mixture among 6 shallow ceramic gratin dishes (1 1/2 to 2-cup capacity). Dot with the butter and bake until bubbly and brown on top, 7 to 10 minutes.

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