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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Baked Penne and Chorizo

One of the things I used to order whenever I went to any Italian restaurant was Baked Ziti.  A simple dish, yet always delicious, and always the same no matter where you went.  Those were my younger years.  Now I love to order dishes like Chicken Piccata, Gnocchi with Brown Butter and Sage, and Calamari Fra Diavlo, but that does not stop me from still craving the more simple dishes.  And a craving was what I had...but I did not have any ground beef or ziti in the house, so it was time to improvise!  I still had 1/2 pound of the chorizo left over from my Chorizo and Rice Casserole....and I always have penne on why not make a baked penne...?????  With chorizo!!  And that's exactly what I did.  It turned out to be just what I wanted.  I did worry that the chorizo and the pasta sauce would not blend well together, but I was worried for nothing...the flavors of the Mexican spices in the chorizo actually complimented the pasta sauce really well.  I added the red pepper because it's what I had in the fridge.  You can leave it out.. or better yet, caramelize some onions and add that to the dish would be fantastic!  Whatever you do, just try too will quickly become a fan!

Baked Penne with Chorizo
Printable Recipe 
2 cups whole grain penne (I actually used just a bit over 2 cups)
1/2 lb Mexican chorizo
1 red pepper, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 - 1 cup pasta sauce (homemade or store bought)
2 Tablespoons cream cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
mozzarella cheese (I used just under 1/2 cup, but you might want to use more)

Cook pasta according to package directions; drain well.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a small baking dish with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a medium skillet, over medium heat, cook the chorizo about 3 minutes; breaking it up with a wooden spoon.  Add the red pepper and cook another 3 minutes.  Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute.  Pour in the sauce (I used just under 1 cup of sauce), stirring to combine.  Stir in the cream cheese until it's fully incorporated.  Season with parsley and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour in the pasta and toss to coat.

Pour pasta mixture into prepared baking dish and top with mozzarella cheese.  Bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.  Serve with warm crusty bread.  Enjoy!


One Year Ago:  Bourbon Chicken


Debbie said...

This sounds like a great combo! Delicious.....My son loves baked ziti and I always order this at a certain restaurant that we go to. But I'm like you and much more likely to order other Italian dishes. My favorite is Shrimp Fra Diavlo...sooo good!!!

Design Wine and Dine said...

I'm a HUGE fan of chorizo!!! Love the stuff! And I'll say you have a no fail, quick and easy dinner here FULL OF FLAVOR! Yes please!

Mary said...

This sounds like great family fare. It looks wonderful and I'll wager it is delicious. I hope you are having a great day. Blessings...Mary

Andrea the Kitchen Witch said...

Mmm what a yummy concoction! I bet it was DELICIOUS! It sure looks good :) Loving this easy family pleasing dinner Jenn!

Pam said...

Chorizo has such great flavor... this pasta dish looks fantastic.

Michael Toa said...

love it. great home-style food. chorizo and pasta? I'm definitely a fan.

Big Dude said...

Just another great meal Jenn.

Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) said...

Mmm, what a cozy and tasty dinner idea. This just looks so wonderful, Jenn. Thanks for sharing!

Jennifurla said...

lol, I too have leftover chorizo from the same dish. This sounds great...although I might just scramble it up with some eggs.

Cranberry Morning said...

As I said re. the last recipe, I've never eaten chorizo, but this looks like another good recipe. And mozzarella on top makes everything wonderful!

Chris said...

I could dive right in and maybe even add in a back flip.