Baked Vegetable Penne

How often do you make vegetarian dishes or meatless meals {if you're not on a vegetarian/vegan diet}? I think I'm going to try to incorporate more meatless meals into my dinner rotation - at least shooting for once a week. Even though the Lenten season is over, when some folks give up meat, it's no excuse to stop enjoying meatless meals. This Baked Vegetable Penne is a dish I made not too long ago that was hearty and filling with the melange of red bell peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and mushrooms baked with cheese and pasta...and without meat!...

We loved this dish because it was full of flavor and leaned towards the healthy side with all the different vegetables incorporated into it. As you can see from the picture above, there are slices of Italian sausage that I served this with... because The Baron is very much a 'meat & potatoes' type of guy so I snuck in some meat on his plate lol. But this recipe is really adaptable. If your family must have some meat, add some Italian sausage or use your favorite meat sauce for the marinara sauce. This is a great dish for a freezer meal too. Prepare as directed and instead of putting it into the oven, wrap it up for the freezer. When you're ready for the dish, defrost and then pop it in a 450 degree oven, and bake uncovered for 30-35 minutes until warmed through and cheese is melted.

Baked Vegetable Penne
recipe adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

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
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 {regular or gluten free}
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese or Parmesan
6-8 slices mozarella cheese
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, fontina cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. 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 Mozzarella slices. Bake until top is golden and cheese melts, about 25 minutes.

1 comment

  1. We do meatless meals about half the week. The little guy seems to really enjoy them. Although he didn't have any issues devouring the Birria I made tonight.

    We actually had your baked penne (with sausage) this weekend and it was delicious.