Here’s a great way to get all your veggies in, with tons of flavor. I used to make this often when I was a caterer as an alternative entrée for non-meat eaters because it’s an elegant dish with lots of colors and textures. It’s also quite convenient, because it can be prepared ahead of time, so if you have vegetarian guests at your next gathering, you can assemble this early and then just pop it in the oven while you’re making the rest of the dinner. But don’t think this is strictly for vegetarians; it’s a real crowd-pleaser all around.
Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
- 2 red bell peppers cored, seeded, and cut into 1-inch strips
- 2 zucchini quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 summer squash quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cremini mushrooms quartered
- 1 yellow onion peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb blend or herbes de Provence
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- 1 cup grated fontina cheese
- 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan plus 1/3 cup for topping
- 1 1/2 cups frozen peas thawed
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into small pieces
- Preheat the oven to 450°F.
- On a baking sheet, toss the bell peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onion with the olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, 1/4 teaspoon of the pepper, and the herbs. Bake until tender, about 15 -minutes.
- 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 it is not completely cooked. Drain in a colander.
- In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, fontina, mozzarella, 1/4 cup of the Parmesan, the peas, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix using a wooden spoon until all the pasta is coated with the sauce and the ingredients are -combined.
- Pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13 x 2-inch baking dish. Top with the remaining 1/3 cup of Parmesan cheese and the butter pieces. Bake until the top is golden and the cheese melts, about 25 -minutes.