In search of a little comfort food last week, I browsed the pasta section in the March issue of Everyday Food. I quickly settled on the baked penne with chicken and sun-dried tomatoes because it reminded me of a dish we used to order in Ann Arbor at the Cottage Inn. The magazine suggests you cook half of the pasta and freeze the other half, but I knew the whole thing would be gone within 24 hours, and that’s exactly what happened.
The recipe was pretty easy to follow, especially after a trip to Trader Joe’s where I bought a bag of pre-shredded Quattro Formaggio (I love a good short cut) cheese, which I believe included asiago, provolone and parmesan. I had whole wheat penne in the cabinet, sun-dried tomatoes in the fridge and chicken breast in the freezer. Hooray for using a few things I already own. I put the pasta on and sauteed the chicken, then dealt with the bechamel/cheese sauce. So without explicitly saying so, this is a modified mac and cheese. I think you’ll feel less guilty about eating it if you just call it baked penne, but it’s pretty darn cheesy and completely delicious on a chilly, rainy night. Also, I tend to feel much better about eating like that when I prepare it myself and know exactly what the ingredients are, and that no high fructose corn syrup or processed sodium laden stuff got in.