It’s the Week after New Year’s & Penne Gratin

It’s the week after New Year’s and all through the house,
Not a creature is stirring, well, maybe a mouse.

The house is suddenly empty, quiet and still,
Gone are all the house guests, the in-laws, cousins, even Uncle Bill.

Some left with a smile, a few in huff,
I’ll worry about it later, for now, I’ve had enough!

The stockings are empty. They’ve been laundered with care.
And tucked away for the season, but I don’t remember where.

The tree’s been stripped of its baubles ; we’ve removed all the lights,
Now it’s at the stump dump, a sad and pitiful sight.

The house is clear of clutter; the chotchkies have been put away,
It’s time to enjoy peace and quiet, if only for a day.

Let’s lounge around in our jammies and sip a cup of tea.
Finish up the cookies, my gosh there’re only three!

We can snuggle down in our beds and sleep well past dawn,
No need to keep an eye out for reindeer on the lawn.

There’ll be no more clatter, no clashes or crashes.
No more elves falling down the chimney and into the ashes.

For now the party’s over, if only for day,
Time to assess the damage from all that making hay.

We’ve toasted, we’ve boasted, we’ve traded stories and quips,
Oh the lies and terrible tales that escaped our lips!

We apologized profusely and tried to make amends,
Only to go off and do it all again!

The holiday hustle and bustle is over for this year,
Time to take a break from the feasting and good cheer.

I wish you a quick recovery from any evil deed you’ve done,
And a happy, healthy 2009, filled with lots of fun!


Bon appétit!

Penne Gratin
It’s Mac & Cheese with an Italian twist. If you are feeling run down and wrung out by all the holiday hustle and bustle give this classic comfort dish a try. Enjoy!
Serves 6 – 8

1 pound dried penne pasta
8 ounces thick cut bacon, roughly chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 small leek, white and light green parts only, chopped
Pinch pepper flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces grated Fontina cheese
4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large, shallow baking dish.

2. In a large skillet sauté the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and drain. Remove all but 1/2 – 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet, add the onion, leek and pepper flakes and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the penne according to package directions, less 1 minute. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.

4. Add the bacon, onion, leeks and garlic, cream, Fontina, mozzarella, 1/2 the parmesan cheese and herbs to the pasta. Toss to combine. Transfer the pasta to the buttered baking dish.

5. Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan cheese on top and bake uncovered for 20-30 minutes or until steaming and golden brown on top. Serve immediately.

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Feel free to visit my other, cleverly named blog, Susan Nye’s Other Blog, or website You can find more than 200 recipes, links to magazine articles and lots more. I hope that you will take a minute to learn about my philanthropic project Eat Well-Do Good. ©Susan W. Nye, 2010



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