Vegetarian Baked Penne

posted on October 1, 2012 by Laura 12 Comments

The honey and I went to a great little Italian restaurant for date night over the weekend. He ordered Baked Ziti with a Bolognese sauce, and cooped up inside today listening to the rain pitter-pattering all afternoon, I was inspired to create a vegetarian version for us at home.

Tomato season may have ended here – though my parents back in California are lucky enough to still be harvesting homegrown little beauties – but this recipe packs a flavorful punch even while substituting a store-bought tomato sauce for homemade. This is a cozy, drizzly-evening sort of meal, best served with fresh bread, good company, and a bottle – or two – of wine.


 

Vegetarian Baked Penne
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Recipe by:
Yield: 6-8 Servings
Ingredients
  • 28 oz dry whole-wheat penne pasta
  • 24 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 lb fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 8 oz light cream cheese, cubed
  • 1 cup mozarella cheese, grated
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbs fresh garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs crushed red-pepper flakes
  • 1-1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp freshly-ground pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375º. Cook penne according to package directions. Drain and return to pot.
  2. Meanwhile, add the olive oil, onion and bell pepper to a large sauce-pan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, garlic, balsamic vinegar, red-pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the pan. Stir to combine. Cook until the tomatoes begin to soften, about five minutes. Turn the heat down to low and add the tomato sauce and cream cheese. Let simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes until the cheese has fully melted.
  4. Add the pasta to the sauce, and stir to combine. Spread the pasta mixture into a 9-by-13-inch pan. Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is brown and bubbly, and the pasta is warmed through. Serve hot.

 

12 Comments

  • Reply Nichole Gerhardt April 18, 2014 at 11:42 pm

    This was great! I made it for my meat eating husband and vegetarian brother and both loved it! I’ll definitely be making this again! Delicious! Thanks!

  • Reply Arielle November 20, 2013 at 3:27 am

    Looks delicious! Silly question but by ‘tomato sauce’ do you mean the plain Tomato sauce that comes in a can or the jarred sauces like Classico brand marinara type? I’m adding this recipe to my must try list! :)

    • Reply Laura December 2, 2013 at 2:28 pm

      Thanks, Arielle! Sorry for the confusion! I meant seasoned tomato sauces, either homemade or store-bought brands such as Classico in your favorite flavor (marinara, olive oil and garlic, etc. all work nicely). Let me know how you like it!

  • Reply 50 Awesome Vegetarian Recipes - A Helicopter Mom July 5, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    [...] 50. Vegetarian Baked Penne [...]

  • Reply Annie March 10, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    Loved this, making it again only this time cuttin it in half!

    • Reply Laura March 11, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      Thanks Annie! It’s one of our favorites, and it does make a lot!

  • Reply Heather October 3, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    I made this tonight and thought it was delicious! Thanks!

    • Reply Laura October 4, 2012 at 11:18 am

      I’m so glad you liked it!

  • Reply Sarah October 2, 2012 at 4:47 pm

    I love that you quoted Lorie Colwin on this. This recipe looks both extraordinary + simple — a rare and perfect combination! It would be a perfect contribution to our Shine Supper Club. Hope you’ll join us! (More info: yhoo.it/PK7SiN)

    • Reply Laura October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

      I just love that quote… and thank you!

  • Reply Cherine October 2, 2012 at 2:21 am

    A wonderful pasta dish!

    • Reply Laura October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

      Thank you!!

    Leave a Reply

    Rate this recipe: