Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Baked Penne with Zucchini, Corn, and Basil

Today’s guest post is by a blogger I’ve never actually met in person.  But, we are kindred spirits.  We have bonded over a shared love of bourbon via the blogs.  Kelsey, of Apple a Day, is an awesome blogger.  I like her blog because she cooks things I’d eat.  She has a great mixture of desserts everyone loves, but also has tons of dinner meals, as well as drinks and appetizers.  Today she’s sharing a meal I’d love to eat, because it has a ton of veggies!

Labor Day has come and gone. For many of you, that means fall is on its way. The weather probably hasn’t changed all that much but, mentally, you’re ready. Ready for football, ready for boots and comfy sweaters, ready for hayrides and pumpkin and hot apple cider.

But WAIT! There’s still a good amount of summer produce hanging on for its last hurrah. If you are part of a CSA or you have a home garden, you know what I mean. You’re probably up to your eyeballs in zucchini and basil. I’ll bet you have a decent amount of tomatoes, as well. And, oh man, you’re going to want to use it to make this. I promise.

This pasta was, for my husband and me, a perfect blend of summer and fall. The flavors screamed summer, but the warmth and heartiness of baked pasta made us feel like cooler fall nights were waiting, just around the corner. And you know what, I bet they’ll be here before we even know it.


Baked Penne with Zucchini, Corn, and Basil

Yield: 8 servings


1 lb. penne
6 TBSP olive oil, plus more as needed
kernels cut from 2 ears of corn
sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
2 lb. zucchini (about 4 medium), cut into half-moons
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-in. chunks
1 TBSP sliced garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes, plus more to taste
1 TBSP tomato paste
1/4 c. white wine
1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh basil
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, in an ovenproof 12-in. nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat, warm half of the olive oil. Add corn and season with salt and black pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, 6-8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm remaining 3 TBSP olive oil. Season zucchini then cook in batches, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden, 6-8 minutes. Add more oil in between batches, if necessary. Add to bowl with corn.

4. Reduce heat to medium and add the onion, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper, to the pan. Cook, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin forming a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the sauce has reduce and is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more. Taste and adjust seasonings.

5. Add the pasta, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to pan and sprinkle top with remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano. Transfer to the oven and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm.

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