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Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

April 8, 2009

I’m in Spain this week, so this will be the only recipe I post.  When I get back I’ll hopefully have some recipes and pictures to share.  The weather is warming up, so I figured this would be my last chance to post this sort of cool weather recipe.  It makes great leftovers and would be an ideal make-ahead dish.  As the Spanish say, “Hasta la Pasta!”

I don’t typically like baked pasta because I find most are dry, cheesy and flavorless, and the pasta is usually mushy.  This dish, adapted from the Food Network, changed my mind because it has a few kinds of really flavorful cheese- not just bland mozzarella.  Plus, it has roasted vegetables that add a lot of texture and flavor.  This makes a lot of food and great leftovers.

Ingredients:

2 red peppers, but into 1-inch pieces
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small box button mushrooms, cleaned, ends trimmed and mushrooms quartered
2-3 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix
1 lb box penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade- I use Barilla marinara)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella (or regular if you can’t find smoked)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash and mushrooms with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes.  Pasta will not be cooked through and should still be hard.

Return the pasta to the pot and toss with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, 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.  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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