Hearty Vegetable Baked Pasta with Pancetta

Total Time:
1 hr 25 min
45 min
10 min
30 min

6 servings

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • One 28-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • One 15-ounce can whole plum tomatoes, crushed by hand
  • 4 large sprigs basil
  • 12 ounces diced pancetta
  • 1 small zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup frozen peas, thawed
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add both cans of the tomatoes and 1 cup water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly, add the basil sprigs and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Discard the basil and season with salt and pepper.

  • While the sauce simmers, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a large mixing bowl with a slotted spoon. Add the zucchini to the drippings in the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Add the carrots and peas and cook, stirring, until the carrots just start to wilt, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

  • Cook the penne in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and add it to the mixing bowl.

  • Add the tomato sauce, half of the mozzarella and half of the Parmesan to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta stand about 10 minutes before serving.

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    Recipe courtesy of Daphne Brogdon