Smoky Baked Penne

By • January 20, 2010 5 Comments

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Author Notes: Most people say that after being veggie for a while you don't crave meat anymore ... not me! I was veggie for 13 years and still drooled as I walked past a BBQ joint or saw someone munchin on beef jerky. The smoked mozzarella in this recipe satisfied my carnivorous cravings while still maintaining my veggie lifestyle! You can get the smoked mozzarella in a 10oz. braided package at trader joes.

Serves 4

  • 8 ounces penne pasta
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 28 ounces canned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 8 ounces package of button mushrooms or cremini if you want to get really fancy!
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 pinch sugar
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 5 ounces smoked mozzarella
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan (optional)
  1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Get your veggies prepped by dicing the onion, mincing the garlic and chopping the zucchini (I like them to be moon shaped ... half the zucchini and then slice). Wash and half the mushrooms. Open the can of tomatoes.
  3. Fill a large pasta pot with water and set it on medium heat to boil.
  4. While waiting for the water to boil In a (very) large sauce pan (or medium sized pot) heat the olive oil. Add the onions and saute on medium for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for another minute or two. Once the garlic and onion are tender add the chopped tomatoes (with their juice). Add the crushed red pepper, balsamic vinegar, sugar and salt. Let simmer.
  5. By now the water should be boiling. Add the penne and let it cook until its done ... about 8 minutes.
  6. Once you have put the penne to boil add the zuchini and mushrooms to the sauce mixture. Let simmer for a few minutes.
  7. While the sauce is simmering and the pasta is boiling cube the mozzarella.
  8. Take the pasta off the flame and drain it. In the pasta pot add the sauce and mix thoroughly.
  9. Place the pasta + sauce in a large casserole dish. Add the smoked mozzarella and mix it gently. Cover the dish with foil and bake it for 45 minutes.
  10. After the 45 minutes you can add the grated parmesan on top and put the dish under the broiler for a minute or two to brown.
  11. This dish will get you love at any potluck ... enjoy!

More Great Recipes: Pasta|Vegetables|Entrees

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Comments (5) Questions (0)


over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love smoked mozzarella! And I'm sure I'd love this dish. Thanks for posting!


over 5 years ago amreen

haha meeee too! I tried it with smoked gouda and didn't like it as much ... the mozzarella is positively melt in your mouth :D


over 5 years ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I just wrote down all the ingredients and am making it over the next couple days! With all the rain we're having here in CA, it's perfect weather for all this comfort food!


over 5 years ago AntoniaJames

AntoniaJames is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Mmmmm, gorgeous. Makes my mouth water just to read this. Love the idea of smoked mozzarella! Having been born and bred in the great Commonwealth of Virginia, where bacon and smoked pork products in general constitute their own food group (i.e., you must eat at least one serving per day), I would probably add some bacon or Black Forest ham to this. The balsamic vinegar is a brilliant touch, too. Yummmm. I'm making this. Soon.


over 5 years ago amreen

The ham (though i have never had it) sounds like a perfect carnivorous addition! Its times like these that i wish i hadn't jumped back on the veggie wagon :P I'm not quite sure what the chemistry is behind it but the vinegar and sugar make the sauce complete! Let me know how it turns out.