One of my favorite midweek pasta bakes - my whole family loves it and there is not much prep. Once the pasta bake is in the oven, you can make a salad or set the table and then it's time to eat.

Recipe Summary

prep:
20 mins
cook:
31 mins
total:
51 mins
Servings:
6
Yield:
6 servings
Advertisement

Ingredients

6
Original recipe yields 6 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender yet firm to the bite, about 11 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of cooking water.

    Advertisement
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook onion until soft and translucent while penne is cooking, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook an additional 30 seconds. Stir in tomato sauce and tomato paste and cook until slightly reduced, about 5 minutes. Add cream and Parmesan cheese and season with salt, pepper, and sugar.

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a baking dish.

  • Stir some pasta cooking water into the sauce and add cooked penne. Remove from heat and stir in cherry tomatoes, 1/2 the mozzarella cheese, and basil. Pour penne mixture into the prepared baking dish and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition Facts

532 calories; protein 21.4g; carbohydrates 67.8g; fat 21.2g; cholesterol 61.7mg; sodium 779.8mg. Full Nutrition
Advertisement

Reviews (105)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 5 stars
01/15/2018
I'm going to be making this for a crowd, so in a test run yesterday, I prepared the dish without cooking the pasta- I just added the extra cup of water and let it all get happy overnight. Baked it today for an hour at 375 and it was delicious. Pasta was perfectly done! So save yourself a step and make it the day before! Read More
(21)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 3 stars
03/31/2020
Made this exactly as written except halved the recipe. There’s just 2 of us and it still made a lot. Unfortunately, it was very bland. So, I’ll be sticking with traditional baked ziti since we like more tomato taste which the cream takes away. Read More
140 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 113
  • 4 star values: 23
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 5 stars
01/14/2018
I'm going to be making this for a crowd, so in a test run yesterday, I prepared the dish without cooking the pasta- I just added the extra cup of water and let it all get happy overnight. Baked it today for an hour at 375 and it was delicious. Pasta was perfectly done! So save yourself a step and make it the day before! Read More
(21)
Rating: 5 stars
01/24/2018
Oh....YUM. Even as I was putting this in the oven I knew it would be our new favorite pasta bake. My only changes were to double the tomato paste and to add some (thawed) frozen spinach to up the nutritional aspect. My son and I were even looking forward to the leftovers!! Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
03/12/2018
I was trying to locate a meatless dish to serve during lent on Fridays and came upon this. It was awesome! My husband and I couldn't get enough of it. The addition of the grape tomatoes really made this dish. The freshness of the tomatoes really gave it a whole dimension of flavors as opposed to the traditional canned tomato products. I didn't have fresh basil and meant to add dry but forgot to. We didn't miss the basil in this dish at all. We had it for leftovers another night but it was kind of dry after reheating. I was going to add some jarred tomato sauce or something for moisture before reheating but decided against it. I would recommend doing that if you plan on having it for leftovers another night. Read More
(5)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
12/14/2017
Yummy, fast, easy, filling and pretty common ingredients. All pluses around here! I rarely have cherry tomatoes on hand so I used canned, diced tomatoes from my garden. I'm sure fresh would have a better flavor, but these worked just fine. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
12/16/2017
This is a great meal that can easily be heated for a later dinner. I put everything together in the morning, then put it in the fridge, skipping over the baking portion of the recipe. After when we got home for dinner, I heated it up for about 20 minutes, taking it straight out of the fridge. It's so simple, and even better that the family loved it! Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
12/05/2017
This was super easy and super good! I modified the recipe a bit, though. I used one 15 oz can of tomato sauce and one 15 oz can of diced tomatoes. I couldn't find any fresh basil so I omitted that ingredient and it was just as good. I added dried parsley, granulated garlic, dried oregano along with the salt and pepper to give it more Italian flavoring. I believe the secret ingredient here is the whipping cream. I increased the amount of cheese used and sprinkled parmesan cheese on top along with the mozzarella. I love cheese so there can never be too much. I will definitely make this again! Read More
(4)
Advertisement
Rating: 5 stars
12/03/2017
I really enjoyed this dish. It is quite flexible - I used a cheddar-mozzarella mix, and parsley instead of basil, as that is what I had on hand. You could also cut back on the amount of pasta, to reduce carb load, or if feeding fewer people. Read More
(4)
Rating: 5 stars
12/08/2017
This was delicious. Instead of penne pasta I used mini tortellini and I added a few shrimp and some mushrooms. This will be a regular at our house especially when the garden is gyiving a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
12/28/2018
WELL THAT WAS A DISH. NOT A VERY PRETTY ONE NOT PORCELAIN BUT A DISH. Read More
(3)
Rating: 3 stars
03/31/2020
Made this exactly as written except halved the recipe. There’s just 2 of us and it still made a lot. Unfortunately, it was very bland. So, I’ll be sticking with traditional baked ziti since we like more tomato taste which the cream takes away. Read More
Advertisement