Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Baked penne with roasted mixed vegetables

I recently took a trip to visit some college friends in Madison, Wisconsin. While there I teamed up to make dinner with my friend Anna, the author of the food blog Dining and Opining, which discusses both recipes and the historical, environmental, political,cultural and health impacts of food.

Since Anna and her husband Justin are vegetarians, I needed to find a vegetarian recipe. They also requested that I make something that could use up as many of the vegetables they had received in their most recent CSA (community-supported agriculture) box, as they were going out of town for week.

To meet these requirements I decided to use a baked penne with roasted vegetables recipe by Giada DeLaurentiis, though I did not follow it closely. Giada's recipe calls for the following vegetables:
2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
4 cremini mushrooms, halved
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips

I used the following vegetables, since they were what we had available:
1 summer squash, cut into one inch cubes
1 zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch wide strips
3 carrots, peeled and chopped into rounds
1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into one inch strips
About a dozen white button mushrooms, sliced
2 heads garlic, peeled
About a bushel of kale, stems chopped and leaves separated
About 2 dozen sungold tomatoes

One of the fun things about this recipe is that you can choose pretty much whatever vegetables you want to add and it will still turn out well. I've had it with Giada's recommended veggies and my blend and they both turned out delicious. The only thing I would change from my version would be to remove the kale stems, as they were a bit too tough and didn't fit the consistency of the dish. The garlic cloves added a lot of flavor to the dish; I'm kind of shocked there was no garlic at all in the original recipe. The carrots gave it a nice little crunch.

Your preferred blend of vegetables
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon salt, divided
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
1 pound penne pasta
3 cups marinara sauce (store bought or homemade)
1 cup grated fontina cheese
1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping

1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
2. On a baking sheet, toss the vegetables with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, 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 the inside is still hard. Drain in a colander.
4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, cheeses, peas, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Using a wooden spoon, 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.

The Results


  1. This was delicious. Thanks, New Chef!

  2. another awesome recipe for me to try thanks

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