A few years ago my friend Joann (shameless plug: she’s the author of Laney: The Brookehaven Vampires) made this pasta dish for a 4th of July neighborhood street party. We had all congregated outside with tables and pop-ups and had even dragged the BBQ around the side of the house to the street. If I remember correctly, this dish came out after a lot of the barbecue food had been eaten; we were stuffed with hot dogs and chips and dips. Did I mention it was probably over 100 degrees? And the pasta is a baked dish? But that didn’t stop me, oh no. I ate two bowls of pasta until I was ready to explode. And then promptly asked for the recipe.
This is a great dish for company, although I make it often for just the three of us. A 9×13 pan of pasta + only 3 people = LEFTOVERS! And you can’t eat this Baked Penne just once. You crave it once you’ve eaten it. It taunts you from the refrigerator.
The ingredients might look like a curious combination for a baked pasta dish. Cottage cheese? Sour cream? It’s a good thing I didn’t see that list before I ate it or my picky self probably wouldn’t have tried it. And boy, would I have been missing out! Something that will probably stand out to you in the ingredient list is the six cloves of garlic. Yes, six. You can smell it cooking from outside. But they make it taste just awesome. (Of course, if you’re not a huge garlic fan you can reduce the number of cloves. But, my dad is one of those people who says he doesn’t like garlic. He’s eaten this pasta and never said a word. I’m just sayin’.)
It’s the perfect dish: a handful of ingredients and you can put it together in the time it takes to cook the pasta. I hope you love it as much as I do!
*I use low-fat ingredients when possible. Joann uses regular. Both taste great!*
1 box of whole-wheat penne pasta (usually they are about 13.25 oz up to 16 oz per box)
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cottage cheese
4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded (I recommend you buy the block of cheese and shred it yourself instead of using pre-shredded. It melts better.)
6 cloves of garlic, pressed in a garlic press
1 jar of pasta sauce (Both Joann and I prefer Newman’s Own Sockaroni, but you can use any flavor or even your own homemade. You need 13-16 ounces.)
1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
2. Cook the pasta according to package directions less 1-2 minutes. Your pasta should be a little al dente because it will continue cooking in the oven.
3. While the pasta is cooking, mix the sour cream, cottage cheese, garlic, sauce, and about 3 cups of mozzarella in a large bowl.
4. When pasta is done cooking, drain well. Add to sauce mixture and stir to combine. Pour into your baking dish. Top with the remaining shredded cheese. Bake for about 30 minutes and let stand for 10-15 minutes before eating.
You can make the dish ahead of time and store, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. Let it come to room temperature before baking, otherwise it will take longer to cook.