Serves a Crowd

Smoky Baked Penne

January 20, 2010
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. —amreen

  • 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)
In This Recipe
  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!
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  • TheWimpyVegetarian
  • AntoniaJames
  • amreen
I am one of the rare northern Cali girls who hearts LA. My family hails from India via Kenya and being a good little south asian i spent many of my young years in the kitchen. Surrounded by good food from birth (thanks mom!) i have always loved cooking, eating and learning about food. In recent years i have developed an interest in the history of food and its cultural connection particularly in how imperialism and colonization has had an influence on cuisines of the world. This blog is my way of exploring the amazing web of nourishment that sustains us.