I love the Milk Calendar. I’ve been kind of obsessed with it since I was younger and I would read all of the recipes over and over again and ask my mom which ones we could try. Since we were vegetarian, there were only a few recipes we could try, so it was pretty easy to pick them out!
I was excited to get a copy of the 2015 Milk Calendar this year, even more so because I once again had the opportunity to try one of the recipes, with ingredients generously provided by the Dairy Farmers of Canada. The test recipe this time was Margherita Penne and I knew I would enjoy this dish as soon as I saw the ingredients list. Tomatoes, bocconcini, basil…..yum!
Link to the original recipe from the 2015 Milk Calendar recipe site (please note that I have not changed the original recipe, I’ve just included my own notes below) – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/recipes/margherita-penne
Course – Main Dishes
Prep. Time – 10 mins
Cooking Time – 13 mins
Yields – 4 to 6 Servings
This yummy pasta is based on the classic pizza margherita, which is topped with tomato sauce, cheese and fresh basil – sometimes the simplest things taste the best.
-The recipe calls for 1 1/2 tsp of dried thyme but I’m not a huge fan of thyme in pasta dishes so I only added a 1/2 tsp. It was more than enough to flavor the dish nicely in my opinion. I think 1 tsp of dried oregano would be a great substitute as well.
-If you want to be able to see the bocconcini in the dish then add it in seconds before serving it, otherwise it will melt into the pasta.
-While I enjoyed this pasta hot, I enjoyed it even more after I reheated it the next day. I just needed to add a few tablespoons of water to get the sauce going again.
-See additional tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada below the recipe.
12 oz (375 g) penne pasta
2 tbsp (30 mL) butter
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) dried thyme
1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt
1/4 tsp (1 mL) hot pepper flakes
2 tbsp (30 mL) all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups (625 mL) Milk
2 cups (500 mL) cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup (125 mL) grated Canadian Parmesan
12 1-inch (2.5 cm) mini Canadian Bocconcini
1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
Canadian Parmesan, for serving
In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta for about 11 min or until al dente, or according to package directions.
Meanwhile, in a large pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic, thyme, salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook 1 min. Sprinkle with flour; cook, whisking for 1 min. Gradually whisk in milk. Bring to a boil and reduce heat. Whisk for 3 to 5 min or until smooth and thickened. Stir in tomatoes and Parmesan.
Drain pasta and return to pot. Pour in sauce; toss, stirring 1 to 2 min over medium heat to coat pasta. Stir in Bocconcini, basil and salt to taste, if needed. Serve with grated Parmesan.
Tips from the Dairy Farmers of Canada:
-Bocconcini come in different sizes, so if you need to cut the balls, the pieces should be about ¾-inch (2 cm) in size.
-Try cubes of Mozzarella instead of Bocconcini.
-Add some of your favourite pizza toppings to the sauce, such as pepperoni, olives or sun-dried tomatoes. Or use your favourite short pasta in place of penne.
To check out the rest of the recipes from the 2015 Milk Calendar, please visit – http://www.dairygoodness.ca/milk/my-milk-calendar/recipes/year/2015