Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Bolognese

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This pasta dish is so versatile it will be a hit no matter what the occasion. Be the talk of the table at any pot luck or sit down holiday meal with this baked penne with homemade bolognese sauce.

Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Ragu Bolognese 5

It’s finally looking like fall is here to stay, at least temperature wise. We had one last burst of heat last week here in Ohio but then a storm front came through and put that to an end. While I do love summer, I enjoy seasons and am ready for fall! I’ve been craving soups and comfort foods and the weather is finally conducive to such things. And soon enough we will be having friends and family over for the holidays, whether that be for a pot luck or a formal sit down meal. Either way it’s time to plan a meal that will be the talk of the table.

Barilla and Clos du Bois

Did you know that one of the largest consumption periods of the year for pasta and wine is the fall and holidays? Honestly I’m surprised it isn’t a steady high year round as the possibilities are endless no matter what the occasion. As an example, the recipe today combines authentic Italian Barilla pasta with crowd pleasing Clos du Bois wine into one fantastic meal for a pot luck or a sit down dinner. Now that’s what I call bringing together the best of two worlds.

Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Ragu Bolognese 1

The first thing I did was to make my own bolognese, which was primarily prepared in a slow cooker. But before letting all the flavors marry for several hours, I sauteed the onions with celery and carrots, followed by browning a trio of meats: ground beef, Italian sausage, and pancetta. Last but not least, before adding everything to the slow cooker I added some Clos du Bois Cabernet to scrape up the browned bits of meat stuck to the pan, because those little bits are not to be taken for granted!

Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Ragu Bolognese 2

Once the sauce is complete, it is mixed with great tasting Barilla penne, which is then layered in a baking dish with a trio of cheeses: fresh mozzarella, sharp provolone, and parmesan (notice the trend of threes in this recipe?). All that’s left is to bake to bubbly, golden perfection. Seal the deal by serving it with your favorite vegetable side, garlic bread, and a nice glass of fruit forward, medium oak Clos du Bois Cabernet.

Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Ragu Bolognese 3

Are you already dreaming of this dish appearing on your holiday dinner table? Heck I want it on my every day dinner table, in addition to a fall pot luck or holiday sit down meal. So what are your favorite fall or holiday pasta dishes? Need more Barilla pasta recipe inspiration? Check out their website, Twitter @BarillaUS, or Pinterest. Also be sure to check out the great selection of Clos du Bois wine for an elegant wine at an unbelievable value to pair with any holiday entertaining plans.

Baked Penne with Slow Cooker Ragu Bolognese 4

One year ago: White Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

Two years ago: White Chocolate Reese’s Pumpkin Blondies

Three years ago: Sunny Anderson’s Spicy Macaroni and Cheese

Four years ago: Chicken in Basil Cream Sauce

Five years ago: Oatmeal Cookie Pancakes

BAKED PENNE WITH SLOW COOKER BOLOGNESE

Serves 8

Ingredients:

SAUCE

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large yellow onion, finely diced

2 stalks celery, finely diced

2 medium carrots, finely diced

3 Tbsp minced garlic

1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste

1 lb. ground beef, crumbled

1 lb. Italian sausage, casing removed and crumbled

4 oz. thinly sliced pancetta, finely diced

1/2 cup Clos du Bois Cabernet Sauvignon

2 (28 oz.) cans peeled whole tomatoes, crushed

1-14 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

2 Parmesan rinds

2 bay leaves

1/4 cup parsley, roughly chopped (plus more for serving)

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1 pinch red pepper flakes

Salt and pepper, to taste

1/2 cup heavy cream

PASTA

1 lb. Barilla Penne Pasta

1-1/2 cups shredded Parmesan

1 cup shredded sharp provolone

8 oz. fresh Mozzarella, sliced

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet medium-high heat, heat the oil. Add onion, celery, and carrots. Sauté until soft and onions are translucent, 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic and tomato paste and let cook for 30 seconds. Add beef, sausage, and pancetta, and sauté until browned, about 15 minutes. Add wine and scrape up the browned bits.
  2. Add the meat mixture to a slow cooker along with the peeled tomatoes, diced tomatoes, Parmesan rinds, bay leaves, parsley, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Stir, cover, and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  3. Remove the bay leaves and Parmesan rinds, add heavy cream, adjust salt and pepper to taste, and turn down to the warm setting while you prepare the pasta.
  4. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  5. In a large pot of boiling water, cook the penne until al dente. Turn off heat, drain, and return to the pot. Add 4 cups of the bolognese* and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan.
  6. In the prepared baking dish, spread half of the pasta followed by half of the provolone, mozzarella, and Parmesan. Repeat layers and bake uncovered for 15 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

*You will have leftover sauce but I promise it won’t go unwanted.

Source: Inspired by a dish I had at Lola & Giuseppe’s Trattoria. Adapted from Bon Appetit, and Little Spice Jar.

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