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Baked Penne with Zucchini, Corn and Basil

August 11, 2009

Now, you know I don’t usually like baked pastas, and this isn’t so South Beach, but something about the fresh zucchini, corn, tomatoes

baked penne with zucchini and corn

baked penne with zucchini and corn

and basil caught my eye…plus it used some of  little ingredients I had to use up.  I saw this recipe when I was flipping through a Williams-Sonoma catalog and it caught my eye because it has a lot of bold flavors.  You don’t bake this pasta in a lot of tomato sauce, which prevents the pasta from getting soggy, but the sauce is very rich in tomato flavor so it stands out  You also get a lot of freshness from the basil and oregano, and a nice amount of cheese.  Beware…this makes a TON of food and you can get 6-8 servings out of it.

Ingredients:

1 box dried penne (I used whole wheat)

4 T olive oil

2 ears of corn, kernals cut from cob

2 lb zucchini (about 4 large), sliced about 1/4″ thick, then halved

4 large tomatoes, seeded and diced

1 T thinly sliced garlic

1 t chopped fresh oregano

1/4 t red pepper flakes

2 T tomato paste

1/4 c white wine

1 bunch fresh basil, leaves thinly sliced (about 1/2 c)

6 oz mozzarella cheese, grated

2 oz Parmesan cheese, grated

salt and pepper

Directions:

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook penne for about 1 minute less than the package directions call for (you want it to be undercooked).  Drain pasta and set aside.

Heat 1 T olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add corn and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for about 6 minutes, until corn is beginning to brown.  Remove to a large bowl.

Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the same pan and add half the zucchini and salt to taste.  Saute until beginning to brown, about 6-8 minutes.  Remove to bowl with corn and repeat with remaining zucchini.

Add remaining tablespoon of olive oil to pan and add the tomatoes, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes and 1/2 t of salt, and pepper to taste.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes soften and begin to turn into a sauce, about 5 minutes.  Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the wine and cook until sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes.

Add the tomato sauce, pasta, basil, mozzarella and half of the Parmesan to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine.  Transfer the pasta mixture to the skillet (or in my case, 2 skillets) (if not non-stick, clean the skillet and spray with cooking spray).  Top with remaining Parmesan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheese is melted and top is beginning to brown.

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