Penne Bake with Spinach and Tomatoes

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I’m not sure what it was like in your corner of the world, but here in KC, fall made quite the majestic entrance. I’m talking SUPREME PERFECTION, you guys. Bright blue skies, crisp air, temperatures so flawless that I spent most of the day with my arms extended in some sort of yoga rayanamaysta (what?) sun salutation pose, while my soul innards buzzed jubilation choruses to the MAX.

So I shopped.

And listened to loud music.

And ran a few miles.

And never showered.

And never got out of my workout clothes.

And grew to accept my ’80s motorcycle hair roots.

And stuck half of my body into a bubbling, cheesealicious, spinach, tomato and pasta casserole.

Hi, fall. I like you.

The sweetsters over at Pomi Tomatoes sent me some free samples of the imported Italian tomatoes, so when I came home yesterday to find them on my doorstep, my entire life fell into place.

The tomatoes come in a nifty little carton, and are offered in a chopped or strained form. On top of that, there are no preservatives, no salt added, nothing fake, y’all. I dug em! And I dug my head into them. Like, way, way into them.

*I was not compensated for this post, other than the free samples. All opinions expressed are my own, dudes.

*Oh, and: if you can, please stick half of your body into something like this, as soon as you can. I can’t be alone in this life.

Penne Bake with Spinach and Tomatoes:

 What it took for 4:

* 1/2 yellow onion, diced
* 3 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
* 1 Tbs. butter
* 1 pinch crushed red pepper
* 1 Tbs smoked paprika
* 1 (26.46 oz) carton Pomi chopped tomatoes
* 1/2 pound penne pasta, cooked
* 4 cups baby spinach
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella
* 1/4 cup whole-wheat breadcrumbs
* pinch of salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400.

In a medium skillet, heat the oil and butter over medium-high. Once the butter starts bubbling, add the onions. Saute until they start to soften, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper and paprika. Saute another minute. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and simmer 5 to 10 minutes.

Add in the cooked pasta and spinach. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed.

Pour mixture into a baking dish, sprinkle with cheese and breadcrumbs.

Bake for 20 minutes. If the cheese isn’t melted and started to bubble and brown, flip it to the broiler for maybe a minute.

Go ahead and serve yourself two helpings. I mean, why not?

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81 Responses to Penne Bake with Spinach and Tomatoes

  1. Deborah September 24, 2011 at 3:26 pm #

    Yum. That looks like absolute perfection.

    • Christy Lanning August 25, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

      Any idea what the fat content is ? I am on a strict diet and would love to try this if it fits .

      • Anonymous December 15, 2013 at 3:48 am #

        I doubt it fits but exchange the mozzerella
        And maybe it will

  2. Tasha September 24, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    I would happily stick half my body into this glorious dish.

  3. Jenny September 24, 2011 at 3:58 pm #

    Yum!

  4. MyPeaceOfFood September 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm #

    YUM! It’s not every recipe I see that I say, Wow, I REALLY do actually want to make that. THIS is something I see myself making this week — thank you!

    • Bev Weidner September 24, 2011 at 4:59 pm #

      You’re so welcome! I love your giddiness. It’s JUST LIKE ME.

  5. Maris (In Good Taste) September 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    What Tasha said.

  6. Cassie (Bake Your Day) September 24, 2011 at 5:39 pm #

    Totally sticking half my body in this. Supreme perfection, as you say!

  7. Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga September 24, 2011 at 8:32 pm #

    Gorgeous. Awesomeness.

    Both you AND the food :)

  8. Marla September 25, 2011 at 2:21 am #

    Bev…I love you girl. So glad those tomatoes & the fall weather rocked your world. That is the perfect “yoga” kind of day to me. The pasta….a carb lovers dream. My kinda dream :)

  9. Sasha @ The Procrastobaker September 25, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Gorgeous!!! Saving this little charmer of a recipe for sure :)

  10. oara September 25, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    Can this be made ahead to take to a cottage?? Sounds delish.

    • Bev Weidner September 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm #

      Oh, absolutely! It reheats nicely. I’m on my 629th helping. :)

    • oara September 25, 2011 at 4:19 pm #

      Thanks Bev. It’ll be a hit for sure.

  11. Katie September 25, 2011 at 4:11 pm #

    Oh goodness, that is a thing of beauty. Can I come spend the day with you and your food?

    • Bev Weidner September 25, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

      Yes. You. Can.

      I’ll even process up some for baby A. ;)

      And you can bring your cute husband, too.

      I DID NOT JUST SAY THAT.

  12. Kat @ Big Apple Little Kitchen September 25, 2011 at 7:49 pm #

    …the perfect recipe to celebrate fall!!

  13. Katie September 25, 2011 at 10:26 pm #

    Well, considering I just about died of happiness looking at the pictures, I’m afraid for what will happen when I actually eat this. Definitely making this soon!

  14. Erika - The Teenage Taste September 26, 2011 at 1:20 am #

    Comfort food at its finest. Love this! :-)

  15. Denise @ TLT - The Little Things September 26, 2011 at 10:48 am #

    Beautiful dish! There’s something so comforting about pasta bakes. It must have something to do with the cheese;)

  16. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com September 26, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    That looks delicious Bev – perfect comfort food for autumn. Gah, Florida is still stinking hot!

  17. Maria September 26, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Perfect comfort food!

  18. Deb September 26, 2011 at 4:49 pm #

    This sounds great! I recently got some Himalayan pink salt and organic peppercorns from Sustainable Sourcing https://secure.sustainablesourcing.com and I’ll have to try them out in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray September 26, 2011 at 6:10 pm #

    Oh man. I would eat the WHOLE THING. Looks amazing!

  20. Kristin September 29, 2011 at 9:44 pm #

    Thank you for a wonderful recipe. This is the first time I have used smoked paprika as a primary seasoning, and I loved the result. I used whole wheat shells since that’s all I had, and I also added nearly 1 whole tsp of red pepper flakes – it was the perfect amount of spicy for us :)
    I think this one will become a regular – so simple and so good!

  21. Kelly October 3, 2011 at 3:46 am #

    Found this recipe and your blog through a link on Kitchn. Made this tonight, and just now waiting for it too cool off to eat, but it smells and looks amazing! I made a few slight changes: didn’t have the spicy red pepper, so omitted that, added some Italian chicken sausage (my boyfriend likes his food to have meat in it, lol), added basil and Parmesan.

    On a side note, I’m originally from KC, and I’m living in Southern California now, and I must say I miss fall!

    • Bev Weidner October 3, 2011 at 1:59 pm #

      Hey Kelly!

      So glad you tried the penne bake! Adding sausage – YES. Your tweaks sound divine. So divine that I might need to make it again your way, like now.

      KC is gorgeous right now! Chilly in the mornings and perfect in the afternoons. I bet Southern California is nice, too. :)

      Thanks for the comment!

      • Kelly October 4, 2011 at 1:26 am #

        Wanted to add that it was extremely tasty! I had it for lunch at work today too. Like most pasta, it was better the next day!

  22. Encore October 14, 2011 at 10:38 pm #

    Long time reader, first time snatcher of excellent recipe! :) This looked too good to pass up and tasted even better so I had to share with my millions of adoring fans…okay, so maybe 2 readers. Hey, they put up with my poor photos and nonsensical ramblings! Of course, I gave you all the credit in the world and linked back to you, so thanks for the recipe! Cheers!

  23. Margaret October 18, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I’m looking forward to making this! What size baking dish is recommended? Is this best suited to a 9 x 13, an 8 x 8, or a 9 x 9?

    • Bev Weidner October 18, 2011 at 6:54 pm #

      Hey, Margaret!

      Mine was a 2 quart oval baking dish. But really, I’m betting a 9×13 would work just fine!

  24. Esther Fox November 23, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Found this via Pinterest! Sounds delicious, definitely going to make this in the near future!

  25. Usha Hegde December 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm #

    That is called surya namaskara. (surya – sun, namaskara – salutation.) And thanks, that looks delicious. I am going to try it tomorrow.

  26. Beth - Slice of Southern March 11, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    Bev! I just clicked on this picture on PINTEREST!!! and it’s your recipe!! WOW, this is traveling around the boards…woohoo! Can’t wait to make this dish…it looks like something I can dive into…full body!

  27. Amber June 21, 2012 at 1:44 pm #

    Making this tonight! Using whole wheat penne. Can’t wait to try it!

  28. Anonymous September 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm #

    It was great!!

  29. Adriel September 23, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    If you wanted kind of a creamy sauce, what would you/anyone recommend?

  30. Heather September 25, 2012 at 11:33 am #

    Made this last night for dinner and it is really delicious. Hubby could not stop eating, I am amazed that I actually had some left over to bring to work for lunch today! I love the smokiness of the tomato sauce, it makes for a nice change from the more traditional sauces and love that it came together relatively quickly. The only changes I made were to use a multigrain penne and added an extra pinch (or two!) of the crushed red pepper. Thanks for sharing this, will definitely make again!

  31. Angel C. October 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm #

    Unfortunately, it is really hard to find good tomatoes where I live. Can you substitute a can of diced/chopped Italian style tomatoes to this? Wanting to make this SOON!

    • Bev Weidner October 26, 2012 at 4:07 pm #

      Oh you totally can! Use canned, absolutely!

  32. Bharati Naik October 31, 2012 at 5:39 am #

    Yummmmy!!!!!!!!!!! It’s delicious…!! Definitely i will make this soon!

  33. Sara December 6, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I just made this with whole grape tomatoes and a little bit of marinara. It turned out AWESOME! Those 20 minutes it spent in the oven felt like a lifetime :)

  34. Noor December 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm #

    Hi,

    The recipe looks gorgeous!! want to try it but dont get baby spinach where i live. can i sub regular spinach. and how? do i just shred it and put it in or do i cook it before, etc etc HELP!

    • Bev Weidner December 21, 2012 at 6:55 am #

      Hi, Noor!

      Oh you can absolutely sub regular spinach! I’m guessing you’re not talking about frozen, but just the regular “bunch” of spinach. All you’ll do is remove the tough stems so you just have the leaves. Give them a rinse and proceed with the recipe! No need to cook it first. It’ll bake in the oven. Let me know if this helps!

      • Noor December 21, 2012 at 9:39 pm #

        Thanku! I will definitely make it today. we have family coming over for dinner. fingers crossed!

  35. JessicaM December 29, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    I have had this bookmarked for awhile. I’m getting a few of my favorite recipes together to start a freezer party for myself and to help my sister who just had her first child. Her husband needs a little help on the cooking end and this is my way of helping and making him feel like he is still taking care of them :)

    To make it freezer ready I added a half cup water to the sauce so that the pasta doesnt wick up all the moisture from the sauce and cooked the penne to where it was just a bit firm and wouldn’t become mushy after being frozen then baked….my test batch that came out awesome :)

    Thank you for such a simple and inexpensive meal idea :)

    • JessicaM December 29, 2012 at 10:07 am #

      Oh almost forgot ….I placed the bread crumbs in a seperate little snack baggy tucked in with the instruction card :)

  36. Tracy January 17, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    Yum!!! I just found your blog via Instagram and this was the first thing I made. The whole family loved it! The smoked paprika makes all the difference. So good!

  37. Shelly March 4, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    I made a version of this the other night! I followed your recipe but added dried basil, oregano, and cayenne pepper to the tomatoes. Also, before I poured the tomato mixture into the casserole dish, I added 4 oz of goat cheese! It was so yummy! I was able to use an entire box of penne which was nice! Thanks so much for the recipe! It was yummy!

  38. Anonymous April 20, 2013 at 2:33 pm #

    9.3g fat and 314 calleries for one serving based on serving 5 people.

  39. Sophie June 13, 2013 at 3:57 pm #

    Omigosh. I have made this at least a dozen times now, and it is hands down my favorite baked pasta dish ever. The other day, all I had on hand were fire roasted tomatoes, so I used them. It made the dish particularly delicious!

  40. jul August 26, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Most delicious pasta dish I have ever made! My husband took a few bites and said “it tastes like something you would get at a great Italian restaurant! I will definitely be making this many more times!

  41. Sara September 4, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    In the oven now!! Can’t wait to taste it!! Thanks!!!

  42. Ada October 26, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    Super simple, yet delicious recipe. I added meat to it, couldn’t resist, but it was so good. I really got 2 helpings of it!

  43. Peg D December 17, 2013 at 1:11 am #

    Is the spinach fresh? measured packed tight or loose? Thanks.

  44. Joleen May 8, 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    This is SUCH an amazing recipe! Thanks so much for the inspiration :)

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