Friday, August 09, 2013

Party Time!: Baked Penne

One of the reasons I was in such a hurry to get home from The Actress's baby shower was that I had another party to attend.  Have you ever noticed that's the case?  All your events inevitably end up scheduled for the same day?

And in this case I couldn't say no to either obligation.  Because how could I miss The Actress's baby shower?  And there was no way I was going to miss Little LO's birthday party!

For some reason, the fact that Thatbaby will be 2 in less than 2 months doesn't really phase me.  But the fact that Little LO is already 2?  Mind blowing!  

I'll probably post something similar every year, but it still amazes me to look at pictures of these two guys through the years.

There was their initial encounter:

Almost a year later at Little LO's first birthday party:

And over the weekend:

Every year they look so much older!!!!  I was so grateful to arrive at L&O's house for the party.  Thatboy and Thatbaby were already there.  And Thatbaby is so comfortable that he was running around playing, without needing Thatboy in attendance.  L&O is a fantastic party thrower.  The food was plentiful and the atmosphere was just so comfortable.  I sunk into a chair and didn't want to leave!  Luckily there will probably be another one of these next year to look forward to.

For Little LO's first and second birthday parties, L&O had a taco bar.  It's a brilliant way to feed a crowd.  Baked pasta is one of my go-to crowd feeders.  It's not nearly as fun as a taco bar, but with a couple of tweaks it can be so much more than your basic spaghetti and meatballs.  A rich, creamy sauce and lots of cheese are the secrets here.  But one bite and you'll see it's not such a secret.

Baked Penne
1 lb penne pasta
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cup milk
1 cup mascarpone
1 1/2 cup parmesean (divided)
2 cups marinara
2 cups mozzarella, shredded

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter in a skillet.  
  3. Add the flour, whisking until smooth.  Cook for 1 more minute, until a nice paste forms.
  4. Slowly add the milk, whisking to combine.  Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower heat and cook until thick and bubbly.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in the mascarpone and 1/2 cup parmesan, stirring until cheese has melted into the sauce.
  6. Stir in the marinara and mozzarella until combined.
  7. Stir the pasta into the sauce, tossing to combine.  Pour into a large baking dish.  Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. Sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the pasta and bake for another 5 minutes.


  1. I love a good baked pasta. Even if not feeding a crowd - the leftovers are phenomenal!

  2. I need a good go-to crowd recipe. Especially now that I have little Lucy...I can't make the elaborate feasts that I used to! This looks so very good. In fact, I wish we were having it for dinner tonight. Thank you so much for sharing!

  3. I love making baked pasta for a crowd! It's always a win.

  4. These photos really do highlight how much babies grow just a few months apart. I know you had a very busy but fun filled event day.


  5. wonderful photos! i love to have a bowl of pasta too.

  6. What a fun and awesome party. I love baked pasta and your baked penne is perfect. Love this kind of comfort food.

  7. They both looks older than 2! They are so big!! Maybe its the pasta.. =)

  8. It's so true. All the events I'm invited to seem to end up in the same day. So unfortunate..
    The baked pasta looks fantastic!!

  9. This is comfort food at it's finest. Yum!

  10. Baked pasta is always a winner and a crowd pleaser!

  11. Time files very quickly... In another 15 years time, can you imagine these babies are going to be tough men?