There’s a whole lot to love about this hearty, vegetarian sheet-pan pasta. It’s strewn with charred Brussels sprouts and red onion, lightly but richly sauced with olive oil and lemon juice, and crowned with pockets of melty mozzarella and crunchy, garlicky crumbs. Using a sheet pan not only streamlines prep and clean-up, it ensures the whole dish is full of golden, crispy edges. I’ll never turn down any type of baked pasta on a cold night, but for me, this speedy rendition full of varied textures and bright flavors is pure baked pasta bliss.
Better yet, everything down to the pasta shape is easily customizable. I’m a huge fan of Brussels sprouts with these flavors, but roasted cubes of winter squash, thin slices of cabbage, or bite-sized florets of broccoli all have a harmonious relationship here. Likewise, change up the nuts (crushed pistachios and hazelnuts are favorite substitutes of mine in the crumb topping), aromatics, or cheeses to your heart’s content.
- Prep time 15 minutes
- Cook time 30 minutes
- Serves 4 to 6
pasta, such as penne or casarecce
kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2 pounds
Brussels sprouts, halved or quartered depending on size
large red onion (about 3/4 pound), thinly sliced
olive oil, divided
finely chopped walnuts
red pepper flakes, or more to taste
or 4 garlic cloves, minced
finely grated Pecorino
juice plus the finely grated zest from 1 lemon (zest before juicing!)
fresh whole-milk mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Heat oven to 425°F.
- Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoons salt and pasta; cook until al dente according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup water, then drain the pasta.
- On a sheet pan, toss the Brussels sprouts and red onion in 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons water (this creates a steam-roasting effect that’s great for Brussels sprouts!). Season well with salt and pepper. Spread in a single, even layer. Roast until crisp-tender and starting to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss together panko, walnuts, red pepper flakes, garlic, pecorino, and lemon zest.
- Remove the sheet pan from the oven, and toss the Brussels sprouts and onions with the cooked pasta, 1/3 cup cooking water, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, and a few big pinches of salt and pepper. (Add a splash or two more of the cooking water if the pasta seems dry.) Taste and adjust the seasoning and acid. Scatter the breadcrumbs evenly over the top, then the mozzarella.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes longer until the crumbs are browned and mozzarella is melted. Serve warm.