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Baked Penne with Cheese and Tomato Sauce picture

Baked Penne with Cheese and Tomato Sauce

This baked pasta dish can be made in advance. Just bake and serve for a quick and hearty weeknight meal.

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Ingredients

  • 12 ounces penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 cups store-bought marinara sauce, or 1 recipe Tomato Sauce (see link to the right)
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Swiss cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 5 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 4 ounces whole milk mozzarella, diced or grated

Serves 4 to 6

 

Note:  If you prefer to make your own tomato sauce, click here for the Tomato Sauce recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  2. Bring a large pot of water to the boil and cook the penne just until it is al dente, according to the package instructions. Drain the pasta, put it back in the warm cooking pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Cover the pot to keep the pasta warm.
  3. If using homemade tomato sauce, make it while the pasta cooks.  (See separate Tomato Sauce recipe.)
  4. In a medium bowl combine the ricotta, Swiss, and Parmesan cheeses. Add the cayenne pepper and spinach and stir well to combine. Taste and season with salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Add the cheese mixture to the warm pasta and add 2 cups of the tomato sauce. Toss well to combine and add more tomato sauce as desired.
  6. Pour the penne mixture into a glass or porcelain baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the top.  (Note:  The dish can be prepared to this point up to 8 hours in advance.  Keep it in the refrigerator and bring it to room temperature prior to baking.)
  7. Bake until the mozzarella is melted and bubbly and everything is hot through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

 

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