Penne Pasta Bake
See my guide on how to use an Instant Pot.
This cheesy penne pasta bake is made even better with roasted broccoli, roasted tomatoes, and whole grain pasta.
The other day, the infamous “What’s for dinner?” question came up in my house. I had a plan (as I usually do) but didn’t feel like eating what I’d planned for. What’s a busy mom to do? Make macaroni and cheese, of course!
This is mac and cheese style penne pasta bake with a twist. I upped the nutritional value by adding some roasted broccoli and roasted tomatoes. My whole family loves roasted vegetables, and who can resist broccoli coated in a creamy, cheesy sauce? Not I.
I used penne pasta because that’s the only short pasta shape that I had on hand in my cupboard. We loved this with the penne, and I think it would also be great with shells or a rigatoni.
The tomatoes and broccoli roast together in the same pan, until the tomatoes burst and the broccoli starts to crisp up and caramelize. While the vegetables roast, you boil the pasta and make the cheese sauce. Then you mix it all together, sprinkle on a Panko breadcrumb topping, and bake until the breadcrumbs become golden and crispy.
This pasta bake comes together fairly quickly, so it’s possible to make it on a weeknight. The leftovers are great for lunches in the coming days. This Cheesy Broccoli Tomato Penne Pasta Bake is comfort food that your whole family will enjoy.
More Baked Pasta Recipes
Penne Pasta Bake
For the pasta:
- 1 crown broccoli cut into florets (about 2 cups)
- 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 16 oz. penne pasta (macaroni, rigatoni, shells or farfalle)
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 3 tbsp. flour
- 1 clove garlic minced
- ¼ tsp. dry mustard
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (8 oz.)
For the topping:
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tbsp. butter melted
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- Place broccoli florets and tomatoes in a baking dish. Toss with 1 tbsp. olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast in oven, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes burst and broccoli begins to brown, about 20 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 375.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Drain, rinse with cool water, and return to the pot.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and then garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne. Cook 1 minute, whisking constantly. Whisk in milk and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until mixture just comes to a low boil and thickens. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, a little bit at a time.
- Pour cheese sauce over pasta. Chop broccoli into small pieces. Stir broccoli and tomatoes into cheesy pasta. Pour into a baking dish that you've lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
- Stir together breadcrumbs and 1 tbsp. melted butter. Sprinkle over pasta. Bake, uncovered until top just begins to turn golden, about 15 minutes.
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