Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheesy Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies

I think I was Italian in a former life. Pasta calls to me. If I could have it every night without my husband rolling his eyes and saying "Pasta, again?", I would.

I'm always looking for new ways to dress up noodles so I watch a lot of Bobby Flay and Mario Batali and Giada DeLaurentiis on the Food Network. One afternoon Giada was on and she made this incredible baked pasta dish full of roasted veggies. I was licking the TV screen by the time she pulled it out of the oven. I rushed right out and got the ingredients. Then, being me, I added some of my own and changed some quantities and what resulted was A-MAZE-ING. My husband had seconds... and then thirds, both my kids ate it up like I hadn't fed them all day, and I felt like I really gave my family something nutritious and satisfying for dinner.

More cheesy than saucy, this pasta bake is full of veggies and the recipe makes enough for leftovers. It's easy, it's filling, it's vegetarian (I snuck that one by my husband!) and it's delish!

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Cheesy Baked Penne with Roasted Veggies
adapted from Giada DeLaurentiis

1 red pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
1 green pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
1 yellow pepper, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash (yellow zucchini), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup mushrooms, quartered
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 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or Club House Roasted Garlic & Peppers Seasoning
1 pound penne pasta
1 jar (3 cups) marinara sauce (store bought or homemade, I use Classico Garden Vegetable)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces


1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. 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.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes. Cook to just under al dente since you will be cooking the pasta a second time in the oven.
4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, pasta sauce, garlic, cheeses, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix, until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are combined.
5. 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.

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  1. This looks so yummy! I too have an ongoing love affair with pasta. I'm going to try it, fingers crossed that my picky 4 year old will eat it.

  2. My picky almost 4 year old eats around the veggies. I pick my battles :)


  3. Oh my gosh - this looks so good! I love roasted veggies, but have never paired them with pasta - great idea. Definitely trying this real soon :)

  4. This looks fabulous. I think I just found my dinner. And maybe - just maybe - my kids will eat the veggies *fingers crossed*

    Thanks :)

  5. I love this dish. I am going to try it. I am always looking for veggie dishes to serve my kids. I think we eat too much meat but I struggle with finding recipes that are veggie and the kids will eat

  6. I struggled with the same thing, finding something vegetarian that the whole family would love. The kids don't *always* eat the peppers, but they do sometimes and at least it's not fast food!