A delicious make ahead baked penne pasta
This dish, this pasta is absolutely delicious and has many emotional ties to it as food often does. It was on the cover of Bon Appetit Magazine in February 1995. I remember it because our friend and neighbor brought us over two large servings one night, back in 1995. We had actually just met after having both moved into our brand new homes on a cul-de-sac in Laguna Niguel, California. We lived next door to each other for four wonderful years before we relocated to Northern Virginia. We arrived in February and Patrick was born in April. A new friend from McLean, VA that we had only met a month or so before Patrick was born brought us dinner one night. The same pasta! We couldn’t believe it. Two friends in two completely different places and four years apart, brought us the same exact dinner. So when I make this dish I can’t help but think of the kindness of two friends, Dana in California and Susan in Virginia.
ingredients: tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, crushed red pepper, cheese & penne pasta
Parmesan & Havarti Cheese
sauté the onion, garlic and add the dried basil and crushed red pepper
Add the tomatoes and cook for an hour stirring often
Penne with Tomatoes and Two Cheeses
This dish can be made ahead. It’s best to bring to room temperature before baking or bake for slightly longer and cover with foil at the end so it does not burn. Add a little more freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil just before serving.
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour + 35 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour 55 minutes
- Yield: 8
- 3 large cans diced tomatoes
- 2 small or one large onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 pound penne pasta
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 8 ounces Havarti Cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan
- Dice the onion and saute in olive oil for about six or seven minutes.
- Add the garlic, stirring to make sure the garlic does not burn. Add the dried basil, crushed red pepper and salt and pepper.
- Add the three cans tomatoes, drained. Stir often and let cook for about an hour.
- Meanwhile, cook the penne pasta in salted water just until cooked al dente. Slightly undercooked is better. Drain and then put back into pot and mix in about a tablespoon of olive oil.
- Add the tomato and onion mixture and stir.
- Mix in the grated Havarti Cheese and sir to mix. Pour into a prepared baking dish that has been buttered and top with the grated parmesan.
- Bake uncovered for about 25 to 30 minutes in a 375 degree oven.
Oh and one more thing….the original recipe is Penne with tomatoes, olives and two cheeses. For years I added the olives when I made this dish. The black olives add a nice contrast, it was pretty. But you know what? We don’t like olives. So now when I make it just for us, I leave them off, but when I bring this dish to a friend as I often do, I put the the olives on and wrap it up.
Keywords: baked pasta, pasta, make ahead