No matter the weather, it’s pretty much impossible not to daydream about cheesy baked carbs. Luckily, this dish is guaranteed to make those dreams come true. In it, you’ll find penne and zucchini layered with herby, creamy ricotta and a rich marinara sauce. To top things off, there’s a melty blanket of mozzarella. Serve it right from the dish for maximum cheese pull potential and wait for the oohs and aahs from your lucky fellow diners.
Produced in a facility that processes eggs, milk, fish, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, soy, tree nuts, and wheat.
• Adjust rack to top position and preheat oven to 450 degrees. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Wash and dry produce. • Halve, peel, and dice half the onion (whole onion for 4 servings). Finely dice tomato. Trim zucchini, then grate on the largest holes of a box grater.
• Once water is boiling, add penne to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally, until almost al dente, 8 minutes (it’ll finish cooking in step 6). • Drain penne. (Keep empty pot handy for step 5.)
• Meanwhile, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add diced onion, tomato, and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is softened, 4-6 minutes. • Stir in marinara, zucchini, ½ tsp Italian Seasoning (1 tsp for 4 servings), ¼ cup water (½ cup for 4), 1 tsp sugar (2 tsp for 4), and a big pinch of salt. (You’ll use more Italian Seasoning in the next step.) Bring to a simmer; cook, stirring, 3 minutes more. Turn off heat.
• While sauce simmers, in a medium bowl, combine ricotta, ½ tsp Italian Seasoning (1 tsp for 4 servings), and a drizzle of olive oil. (Use the rest of the Italian Seasoning as you like.) Season with salt and pepper.
• Add drained penne, sauce, and 1 TBSP butter (2 TBSP for 4 servings) to pot used for pasta. Season with salt and pepper; stir to thoroughly combine. • Spread out half the pasta mixture in an 8-by-8-inch baking dish. (For 4, use a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.) Using a tablespoon, dollop pasta mixture with herbed ricotta. Top with remaining pasta mixture, then sprinkle with mozzarella.
• Cover baking dish with foil. (TIP: Coat inside of foil with nonstick spray first to prevent sticking.) Bake pasta on top rack for 10 minutes, then remove from oven; discard foil. • Heat broiler to high. Broil until cheese is lightly browned, 4-5 minutes. TIP: Watch carefully to avoid burning. • Let cool slightly; top with chili flakes if desired. Divide between plates and serve.