Three-Cheese Baked Pasta

The diced provolone creates lovely little pockets of melted cheese throughout the casserole as it bakes. Cook the pasta while the tomato mixture simmers.

Yield: 8 servings (serving size: about 1 1/2 cups)
Recipe from Cooking Light

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Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 459
  • Calories from fat: 28%
  • Fat: 14.1g
  • Saturated fat: 8.4g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 4.8g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 0.9g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Carbohydrate: 59.2g
  • Fiber: 5.8g
  • Cholesterol: 33mg
  • Iron: 2.9mg
  • Sodium: 810mg
  • Calcium: 517mg

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cups diced onion
  • 1/3 cup diced carrot
  • 1/4 cup diced celery
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (about 12 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes (packed without oil)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons chopped fresh or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 (28-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 1/2 cups (6 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese, divided
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg white, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound uncooked penne rigate (tube-shaped pasta)
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) diced provolone cheese
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, and celery; cook 10 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add sun-dried tomatoes, thyme, crushed red pepper, and diced tomatoes; cook 25 minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally.
  3. Combine 1 cup Romano, ricotta, parsley, and egg white in a bowl.
  4. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain; return pasta to pan. Add ricotta mixture to pan, stirring to coat. Add tomato mixture and provolone, tossing just until combined (do not overstir). Spoon pasta mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Romano. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until bubbly and top is browned.
  5. Wine note: Here's one of the best-kept secrets in food and wine pairing: Cheese often works better with white wine than red. As proof, try this delicious cheesy baked pasta casserole with a crisp white such as pinot grigio, and watch how the wine's zesty acidity cuts through the richness of the cheeses. A favorite: Bollini Pinot Grigio from Italy. The 2004 is $10. -Karen MacNeil
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