If you need a recipe to use up that abundance of summer zucchini – try this baked penne! We made it this week and it is delicious! I was worried it would be bland but the flavor from the cheeses and roasted summer veggies did wonders. I brought it to work for lunch the next day and was even more pleased when it didn’t dry out after reheating (which is key because this makes a week’s worth of food for two people). This is a great dinner party dish that is very easy & super tasty (and let’s just pretend that the boatloads of veggies involved cancels out all that cheese – deal?).
Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
(Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis – found on L.A. In Bloom)
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved – E doesn’t love mushrooms so we skipped these but I think they would have been an awesome addition
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta – we used whole wheat and I liked the extra texture
3 cups marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade) – I used Rao’s after reading Dinner: A Love Story’s taste test!
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven, you want to make sure the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.
In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper (I threw in some chopped garlic, too). Using a wooden spoon, gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
Pour the pasta into a greased 9 by 13-inch pan. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup Parmesan and butter pieces. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.
P.S. Heather Taylor of L.A. in Bloom made this dish for a girls weekend in Big Sur that looks like it was positively magical! I’m headed to Florida in a week to celebrate a good friend’s bachelorette party and can’t wait to see a bunch of my ladies from the Midwest that I miss terribly!