- Kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
- 1/2 pound pancetta, trimmed of excess fat and diced
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 fennel bulb, trimmed and thinly sliced
- 1 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 12 ounces penne
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 1/2 ounces)
- 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (about 8 ounces)
- 1 3/4 cups grated fontina cheese (about 6 ounces)
Position a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 450. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring, until the fat renders, 2 to 3 minutes. Pour off the fat, leaving about 1 tablespoon in the pan. Add the onion and fennel and cook until the fennel is soft, about 5 minutes. Crush the tomatoes into the pan with your hands, then pour in the juices from the can and bring to a simmer. Fill the empty can with 1/2 cup of the boiling water and add to the sauce. Stir in the cream and simmer while you cook the pasta.
Oil a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Layer the pasta, mozzarella, fontina and the remaining 1/2 cup parmesan in the dish, alternating pasta and cheese. Drizzle with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil. Bake, uncovered, until browned and bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 757; Fat 45 g (Saturated 22 g); Cholesterol 117 mg; Sodium 939 mg; Carbohydrate 56 g; Fiber 6 g; Protein 33 g
Photograph by Antonis Achilleos