Cheesy Veggie Baked Pasta

Add carrot, zucchini and spinach to this pasta dish loaded with mozzarella and fontina.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 5 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 cup fresh ricotta

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried medium penne

1 cup shredded carrots

1 medium zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

6 cups baby spinach

1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated ricotta salata or Parmesan

1 1/2 cups shredded Italian fontina

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Heat 2 tablespoons of the 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, the cream, and 3/4 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the ricotta and season with salt and pepper.
  3. While the sauce simmers, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the carrots, zucchini and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach and stir until just wilted. Transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Cook the penne in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions instructs. Drain the pasta and add it to the bowl with the cooked vegetables.
  5. Add the tomato sauce, the mozzarella and half of the ricotta salata to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta-vegetable mixture to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish and top with the fontina and the remaining ricotta salata. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta rest about 10 minutes before serving.