This simple penne pasta recipe includes garlic, tomatoes, and shredded mozzarella cheese. It's a simple dish to fix and bake, and it makes a fabulous everyday meal or potluck dish. Plus, it's meat-free. If you're looking for something simple to serve your vegetarian friends and family, this is a good choice.
This dish can be a stand-alone meal or serve it along with a salad or a meat entree. It would be excellent with grilled chicken breasts or steaks. Of course, you could add meat. Brown some ground beef or Italian sausage and add it to the sauce if you like, or add some diced cooked chicken to the tomato mixture.
- 16 ounces penne pasta or similar shape
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
- 1 large (28 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano, crumbled
- 1 /2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
- salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 1/2 to 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/Gas 4).
- Butter a 2 1/2 to 3-quart shallow baking dish or casserole.
- Cook penne pasta in boiling salted water as directed on package; drain and set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan. Add onion; sauté for about 4 minutes, or until tender. Add garlic to the onion and continue cooking for 1 minute.
- Add the tomatoes, basil, and oregano; cook until heated through.
- Taste and add salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked drained penne, the tomato sauce mixture, and 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Stir to blend the ingredients thoroughly.
- Spoon the pasta and sauce mixture into the prepared casserole. Sprinkle the remaining shredded mozzarella cheese over the top.
- Bake the casserole for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pasta is hot and the cheese has melted.
"This recipe is a great twist on plain pasta. I used gemelli pasta because that's what I had on hand. I modified the recipe: I added chopped mushrooms to the garlic and used one small can of tomatoes with peppers and onions already mixed in. I would recommend sticking with one large (28 ounces) can of tomatoes since my version was very light on the sauce. I do not cook dinner every night so this is an easy way to spruce up your average pasta dinner." M.S.
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