|Photo courtesy of www.foodnetwork.com|
I actually just made this dish for my husband's parents this past weekend. The best part is, you can roast your vegetables and grate your cheeses ahead of time. So, once it's time to entertain, all you need to do is boil your pasta, mix everything up, and bake! I paired it with a simple chicken cutlet (The Barefoot Contessa's recipe here) and an arugula salad (just arugula tossed with some olive oil and a pinch of salt).
PS - if you've never heard of Restaurant Week, I highly recommend looking to see if your town or any counties host one nearby! Basically, a bunch of restaurants get together and create their own restaurant week menus... usually a smaller version of their daily menu featuring a three-course meal for a fraction of the normal price. It's a great way to try new restaurants (or to go to one that might be a tad too expensive otherwise!). Here are some examples of restaurant week's around me:
Hudson Restaurant Week, Hudson County, NJ
New York City Restaurant Week, NYC
Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, Westchester, NY
Stay tuned next week for buffalo chicken calzone bites!
Baked Penne with Roasted 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, pelled and sliced into 1-inch strips
- 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 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan, plus 1/3 cup for topping
- 2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and dried herbs. Roast until tender, about 15 minutes.
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.
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.
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.