Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables is an elegant dish that’s both colorful and flavorful. This one-dish wonder contains garden fresh vegetables roasted to perfection and tossed with penne in a dreamy creamy cheesy tomato sauce. One bite and you’ll be hooked.
I first saw this amazing recipe on the Food Network site. It sounded delicious. However, I thought that it needed some modifications.
This recipe is an adaptation of that Food Network recipe.
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
Table of Contents
This healthy and flavorful casserole contains the following ingredients:
The Vegetables: The colorful and healthy vegetables include red bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, Vidalia onion, cremini mushrooms and frozen green peas.
The Pasta: As the name suggests, the pasta of choice is penne.
The Cheeses: I used three different cheeses: fontina cheese, smoked mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese.
The Sauce: For the sauce, I used Rao’s store-bought marinara sauce.
Bringing Up the Rear: To finish the dish, I used Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, olive oil and unsalted butter.
This Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables is quite versatile, allowing for many substitutions.
The Vegetables: If you can’t find Vidalia onions, use any onions of your choice. Also, feel free to substitute green, yellow or orange bell pepper for the red bell pepper. You could also use white mushrooms in place of the cremini mushrooms and omit the green peas. Finally fresh spinach would be a nice addition to this delicious recipe.
The Pasta: Ziti would work well in this dish as would rotini. Feel free to use what you have on hand.
The Cheeses: Both fontina and smoked mozzarella tend to be difficult to find. Therefore, you can substitute mozzarella, Monterey Jack or gruyére for the fontina. You could substitute smoked gouda for the smoked mozzarella or replace the smoked cheese with the main cheese.
The Sauce: You can use any good quality marinara sauce in this recipe including your own homemade marinara sauce.
Roasting the Vegetables
I started by adding the bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, onions and mushrooms to a large baking sheet that I had lined with non-stick aluminum foil.
Then, I drizzled on the olive oil and sprinkled on salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
I tossed the vegetables with my hands to ensure that they were well coated and spread them out in a single layer.
After that, I roasted the vegetables in a preheated 450°F oven for 15 minutes until they were perfectly done. I removed them from the oven and set them aside to cool a bit.
Making the Pasta
While the vegetables were roasting, I cooked the pasta. I added the dried pasta to boiling salted water and cooked it for 6 minutes.
The reason for the reduced cooking time was that the pasta would cook some more when the casserole was baked.
Whenever I make pasta, I use a trick that Susan taught me – place a wooden spoon or fork into the pot. I’m not sure why this works, but it keeps the water from boiling over.
After 6 minutes, I drained the pasta in a wire mesh strainer.
Putting the Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables Together
With the vegetables roasted and the penne cooked, it was time to put the dish together.
Step 1: I started by adding the penne, roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, part of the Fontina cheese, part of the parmesan cheese, smoked mozzarella cheese, green peas, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
Step 2: Next, I carefully tossed all of the ingredients together to ensure that they were well combined.
Step 3: Once the ingredients were combined, I transferred the mixture to a 2 ½-quart casserole dish that I had sprayed with non-stick spray.
Step 4: After I spread out the ingredients in the casserole dish, I topped it with reserved fontina and parmesan cheeses. Then, I dotted the casserole with butter.
I baked the Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables in a preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, the cheese had melted and the casserole was bubbly.
The Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables was a meal in itself. The only thing that I added was a freshly baked loaf of crusty French bread that I had made earlier that day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Both penne and ziti have similar tube shapes and are similar in size. penne can be either smooth or ridged whereas ziti is smooth. The ends of penne tend to be cut on the diagonal. The ends of ziti are straight.
Because penne and ziti are similar shapes and are made from the same basic ingredients, one can easily be substituted for the other.
While the dish contains cheese, it is vegetarian for those on Lacto-vegetarian or Lacto-ovo vegetarian diets.
One of the beauties of this recipe is that it can be made ahead of time. Once I’ve transferred the mixture to a casserole dish and topped it with cheese and butter, I often cover it in foil and refrigerate it. If it is refrigerated ahead of time, I add about 5 minutes of baking time to it.
Leftovers, if any are excellent. I generally will reheat this dish in the microwave.
Other One-Dish Pasta Recipes
If you’re a fan of one-dish pasta recipes, look no farther. Here are some awesome one-dish pasta recipes:
Cheesy Penne with Roasted Vegetables
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into ½-inch strips (See Tip 1)
- 1 (7 to 8-ounces) zucchini, quartered legthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 (7 to 8-ounces) yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cremini mushrooms (about 3 ounces) cut into thick slices (See Tip 2)
- ½ Vidalia onion, peeled and thinly sliced (See Tip 3)
- 2 Tablespoons (1-ounce) extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt, divided
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 2 cups (8-ounces) dried penne pasta (see Tip 4)
- 1 ¾ cups marinara sauce, store-bought or homemade (See Tip 5)
- 1 cup (4-ounces) shredded fontina cheese, divided (See Tip 6)
- ¼ cup (1-ounce) shredded smoked mozzarella cheese (See tip 7)
- ½ cup (2-ounces) shredded parmesan cheese, divided
- ¾ cup frozen green peas
- 1 Tablespoon (0.5-ounce) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a large baking sheet with non-stick aluminum foil; set aside. Spray a 2 ½-quart of 9 x 13-inch baking dish with non-stick spray; set aside.
- Add the bell pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms and onion to the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil; sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and Italian seasoning. Toss to thoroughly coat. Roast in preheated 450°F oven for 15 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; allow to cool slightly.
- Reduce oven temperature to 375°F.
- While vegetables are roasting, cook penne in salted water for 6 minutes. Drain in colander. (See Tip 8)
- In a large bowl, gently toss the drained pasta, roasted vegetables, marinara sauce, ½ cup of fontina cheese, smoked mozzarella cheese, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, green peas, remaining ¼ teaspoon of salt and ¼ teaspoon of pepper until well coated.
- Transfer pasta mixture to prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining ½ cup of fontina cheese an ¼ cup of parmesan cheese. Dot with butter. May be prepared in advance up to this point. (See Tip 9)
- Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 30 minutes or until cheeses are melted and mixture is bubbly.
- Yield: 6 servings. (See Tip 10)
Chula’s Expert Tips
- May use green, yellow or orange bell pepper in place of the red bell pepper.
- May use white mushrooms in place of the cremini mushrooms.
- May use any yellow onion in place of the Vidalia onion.
- May use ziti or rotini pasta in place of the penne.
- I used Rao’s store-bought marinara sauce.
- If you are unable to find fontina cheese, you can substitute mozzarella, Monterey Jack or gruyere cheese.
- You can either substitute smoked Gouda cheese for the smoked mozzarella cheese, or omit the smoked mozzarella and increase the quantity of fontina by ¼ cup or 1-ounce.
- You don’t want to overcook the pasta at this point because it will continue cooking when the dish is baked.
- This dish can be easily prepared in advance, covered and refrigerated. If you do prepare it in advance, add about 5 minutes to the cooking time.
- Leftovers if any are just as good the next day. I like to reheat this in the microwave, but you could also reheat it in the oven at 350°F for about 15 minutes.