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Comfort Food: Baked Penne with Meat, Mushrooms and Cheese

This Friday's San Francisco Chronicle's Wine section carried the latest "Pairings" column by Lynne Char Bennett titled "Dry Creek Zinfandel makes a penne-wise partner". Zinfandel is among our favorite red wines (along with Syrah and Shiraz from Australia's Barossa appellation) - so the article caught my eye.

Included in Bennett's column was a recipe for "Baked Penne with Meat & Mushroom Sauce" which we made - with minor variations - tonight.

Her recipe minimizes some of the fat that might otherwise be present - we used 97% lean ground beef, for example, when we cooked it and the mushrooms help extend the flavor along with the herbs that simmer into such a flavorful sauce.

Turns out this recipe was a real family crowd pleaser - we all really liked it, helped ourselves to a couple of servings, etc. We served it along with a simple Caesar salad - yummy! We paired a Ridge 2006 Dusi Ranch Zinfandel with the penne - a great combination!

We'll certainly be making the baked penne again - and are already looking forward to some left overs tomorrow night!

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