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Baked Penne with Bechamel
Baked pasta with a Creamy Tomato Sauce
60 minutes,   4 servings
recipe image
1 cup olive oil
1 Garlic clove, minced
1 28-ounce can Whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano if available)
to taste Kosher salt
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Flour
2.5 cups Whole milk
to taste Ground nutmeg
¾ pound Penne pasta (dry)
1/5 pound Mozzarella cheese
1 cup Grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Coarse bread crumbs, dry or home made
Prepare the tomato sauce
1.  Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil (olive oil) in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering.
2.  Add the tomatoes, with their juices (1 28-ounce can), 2 pinches of salt, and bring the mixture to a boil.
3.  Crush the tomatoes in the pan with a spoon.
4.  Lower the heat and simmer the sauce until just slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Prepare the bechamel sauce
1.  Melt the butter (2 Tbsp) in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2.  Stir in the flour (2 Tbsp) and cook, stirring, until a smooth paste the palest shade of brown forms, about 2 minutes.
3.  While stirring, slowly pour in the milk (2.5 cups).
4.  Bring the sauce to a very gentle boil and cook, stirring continuously, until it's thick, about 5 minutes.
5.  Turn off the heat and season the béchamel to taste with salt (Kosher salt) and nutmeg (Freshly grated) to taste. Set aside.
Prepare the Ziti
1.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
2.  Brush a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with olive oil (1 cup).
3.  Fill your largest pot with water, bring it to a boil and season liberally with salt (to taste).
4.  Add the penne and cook it 3 minutes shorter than the package instructions. It will finish cooking when you bake it.
5.  Drain the pasta and transfer to a bowl.
6.  To the penne, add the reserved tomato sauce, the béchamel, mozzarella (0.5 lb), and half a cup of the Parmesan cheese, and stir well.
7.  Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish and scatter the remaining half a cup Parmesan cheese over the top.  ©
8.  In a small bowl, toss the bread crumbs (1 cup) with the remaining 2 Tbsp of olive oil.
9.  Scatter the bread crumbs over the penne, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 tsp crushed red pepper and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg.
10.  Bake the pasta until it is bubbling and the top is browned, about 15-20 minutes.
11.  Let the pasta rest for 10 minutes before serving.
recipe image Baked Penne with Bechamel

Baked Penne with Bechamel serving suggestion

Baked Penne with Bechamel. Recipe on first page, not a blog.