Tasty Tuesday: Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

July 7, 2009

Today’s recipe is another jewel from the Food Network’s Giada De Laurentis.  Before I begin, let me just say that I LOVE the food network.  How did people cook without being able to access fabulous recipes for FREE at the touch of a button??  I tell you, pretty soon kitchens will have a computer monitor with internet access mounted in the backslpash as a standard appliance for the kitchen.  Oh but I digress…

This recipe of Giada’s is called Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables.  Robert and I have been trying to incorporate more fresh vegetables into our meals.  And when you come from a meat and potato family like I do, it’s not always easy finding exciting ways to incorporate vegetables beyond just canned green beans or steamed asparagus!  Needless to say it was the large volume of veggies that attracted me to this delicious meal.  I’ve left Giada’s recipe pretty much in tact outside of changing the way some of the veggies are cut and reducing the amount of salt and pepper.  So without further adieu, let’s get started.

Ingredients:
2 red bell peppers
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
10 small cremini mushrooms
1 medium yellow onion
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp dried Italian Herb Mix
1 pound penne pasta
1 jar (about 3 cups) of marinara sauce (any kind from the store or homemade if you have it)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Core red bell peppers and cut into 1-2inch rectangles, peel the yellow onion and cut to the same size.  Cut the squash and zucchini in quarters lengthwise and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Cut the stems off the mushrooms and cut into quarters.  If you have two 9×13 baking dishes, use one for roasting the veggies and one for the pasta.  If you only have one, a regular cookie sheet will work, it just makes it a little trickier getting the veggies in and out of the oven.  Toss the bell peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms and onions along with the olive oil, salt, black pepper and dried herbs together in the pan or on the baking sheet until well coated.  Put in theoven and roast for 15 minutes.

Veggies ready for roasting in the oven

Veggies ready for roasting in the oven

While the veggies are roasting boil the water and cook the penne for about 6 minutes.  This will cook the pasta just enough so that it’s not overcooked once it’s done baking in the oven.  Drain and put aside. When the veggies are done roasting, toss the veggies, pasta, marinara sauce, fontina, mozzarella and peas gently mixing until pasta is coated with the sauce and all other ingredients are combined.

Pour the pasta mixture into a greased 9×13 inch pan and top with the 1/3 cup of parmesan cheese.  Bake in the oven until top is golden and cheese is melted, about 25 minutes.  When you’re done, here’s what it should look like.

Baked pasta fresh out of the oven

Baked pasta fresh out of the oven

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That’s it! Real easy and so tasty. Robert thinks it smells and tastes like pizza.  I just think it tastes great!  I love the veggies.  (as if you couldn’t tell)  I’d like to take this moment to promote my new favorite marinara sauce company.  For years I’ve used Ragu for all my marinara needs, not any more.  I’d like to introduce to you Cucina Antica.  Their sauce is great, you look at the ingredient list and it only contains about 7 items!  All of them what you would include if you were making it yourself.  No preservatives, no bad stuff! And it tastes great!  My favorite so far is the Spinach Marinara.  As you can tell from this photo of the jar, last night I used their Tomato Basil Marinara. 

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Many of you who have cooked with me, or watched me cook, know that I can tend to be a cooking purist, preferring to make my sauces and such rather than buy it premade.  I think this sauce has changed my tune, at least where mariniara sauce is concerned.  I get mine at Central Market, and I’m not sure how wide their distribution is, but if you can get it try it!

Ok, that’s all from me for now.  Ciao!

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