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Baked Pasta with Zucchini and Mozzarella - Chef Whitney Aronoff | Starseed Kitchen

Easy Baked Penne with Vegetables

  • Author: Chef Whitney Aronoff
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Oven
  • Cuisine: Healthy
  • Diet: Vegetarian


This is healthy comfort food. A balance of pasta, vegetables and cheese. An quick and easy meal that is great for meal prep or when you don’t want to make a trip to the grocery store.


  • 2 ½ cups organic penne or gluten-free penne pasta
  • 1 bunch red chard
  • 2 Tbsp and 1 tsp of sea salt, divided
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 large zucchini, quartered
  • 2 yellow crookneck squash, quartered
  • 1 ½ cups sliced cremini mushrooms
  • 3 cups organic marinara sauce
  • 23 cups shredded organic mozzarella
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese (1 container)


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pasta according to directions. For alternative pastas, undercook them by 3-4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While pasta is cooking, blanch the red chard. Bring 4 cups of water and 2 tablespoons sea salt to a boil. Chop red chard into 1-inch pieces, including the stems. Add to boiling water and immediately drain. Set aside.
  3. Heat olive oil in a large pan, add zucchini and squash and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes. Add mushrooms, garlic, sea salt and cook for an additional 3 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the penne pasta and marinara sauce. Add the vegetables, basil and half the mozzarella, mix well. Poor into a large baking dish. Create 6 wells. Scoop in the ricotta cheese evenly amongst the 6 wells. Top with remaining mozzarella. Bake 15 minutes, till the cheese is melted and browning.


  • When using gluten-free, brown rice, quinoa, lentil and chickpea pasta, remember to undercook. Cook the pasta 3-5 minutes under the recommended time. The pasta will finish cooking when you bake the dish.
  • Substitute the vegetables with others you may have on hand such as eggplant, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Garnish with red pepper flakes and fresh basil as desired

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