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Meatless Monday: Spicy Penne with Two Cheeses and Olives

Baked pastas are one of my favorite things. They get a nice crusty, crunchy top and are all gooey and hot underneath. Of course, they have to be done right to really knock your socks off.

This Meatless Monday recipe comes from one of my Bon Appetit cookbooks. It’s absolutely delicious—perfect on a cold night with a salad. The Havarti cheese makes this pasta super creamy, almost like a vodka sauce. And the olives add a salty punch.

The homemade sauce would be great just tossed with some penne and Pecorino and crumbled hot turkey sausage on a night when you’re making a meaty dish.

Give yourself some ample time for cooking this dish and enjoy!

What You Need:
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil (divided)
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 3 (28 ounce) cans Italian plum tomatoes , drained
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 cups canned low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 lb penne
  • 2 1/2 cups packed grated havarti cheese
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil

What You Do

  1. Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add tomatoes, basil and crushed red pepper.
  4. Crush tomatoes with a potato masher to break into smaller pieces.
  5. Add broth and bring to a boil.
  6. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is reduced to 6 cups, stirring occasionally.
  7. This will take about an hour.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  9. When sauce is close to done, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until it is just tender but still a little bit firm to the bite.
  10. Drain pasta and toss with remaining 3 tablespoons of olive oil.
  11. Stir in pasta mixing thoroughly.
  12. Mix in Havarti cheese until melted.
  13. Pour into 13×9-inch glass baking dish.
  14. Sprinkle top with olives and then the Parmesan cheese.
  15. Bake at 350° until heated thoroughly, about 30 minutes.
  16. Sprinkle with fresh basil before serving.

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