Baked Penne Pasta – This is an easy, fail-safe recipe you’ll love! It’s so delicious, no one will ever guess how simple and easy it is!
Now enough of the technical stuff, let’s get on to the food.
Long before I was married I went on a very interesting first date. I’ll save some of the details for another time but just allow me to set the scene for you. We ate at an Italian joint I’d never been to before called Trio where I ordered the baked penne and my date ordered…. a salad. Um……
Don’t get me wrong I am a salad loooover. But I’ve never had a first date where I ordered a hefty main dish and the guy ordered a salad. That was a first. But a more important first was my dish. The baked penne. Oh. My. Gosh.
I went back to that restaurant several times just for the baked penne. After my husband and I got married, we spent a month and a half traveling for his work. For a couple of weeks we were in Washington D.C. We ate at an Italian restaurant around the corner from the hotel and I was more than a little overjoyed to see Baked Penne on the menu.
When we got home from our little traveling escapade, I decided to recreate the dish at home. For those of you who know my disastrous culinary past (check out my About page!) you know that this must have been a big milestone for me. And you’re right. Even more exciting was the fact that the dish came out edible. Even…. good. Woah.
Baked penne has a special place in my heart for this reason. I’ve made several variations but this is the basic version. So easy. No-fail. Perfect for family or guests. I’ve never served it to anyone who didn’t love it. Put it on your go-to recipe list. Maybe at the top. It’s that good!.
Easy Baked Penne Pasta
- 8 ounces uncooked penne noodles
- 2 cups prepared alfredo sauce (one store-bought jar works great!)
- 1/4 teaspoon dry oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dry basil
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- 6 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 chicken breast cooked, cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 cup chopped red pepper
- 1 cup sliced shiitake mushrooms + 1/2 teaspoon olive oil + 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
- Preheat oven to 400. Lightly grease a large casserole dish or two smaller casserole dishes with cooking spray.
- Cook penne noodles according to package instructions. Drain and place in a large bowl. Add alfredo sauce, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt and pepper, and 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese. Mix well to combine. (*Optional: add chicken and peppers here.) Scoop mixture into casserole dish and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Bake 20 minutes and serve hot.
- ***Optional: If you would like to include the mushrooms (which I highly recommend!) saute the mushrooms over medium high heat with oil and garlic about 5 minutes or until fragrant and mushrooms are slightly browned on each side. Add before scooping into casserole dish.