Pesto Lover’s Cheesy Baked Penne.
This baked pesto pasta is an incredibly easy side dish that goes with just about anything. A few ingredients come together to make this herby, cheesy pasta an absolute delight that everyone loves.
We’re eating green today!!
This is an embarrassingly easy pasta dish that you won’t be able to get enough of. It’s so deliciously herby and cheesy, full of homemade basil pesto, a few different cheeses and a sprinkling of crushed red pepper flakes.
This fresh pesto is my love language!
I love this dish because it goes with almost anything.
When I say that my family loses their mind over this – I mean it! And it’s crazy, because this is so incredibly easy that it’s barely worthy of a written shared recipe. This is one of those dishes I’m sharing with you so you have it in your recipe arsenal. Something you can make when you need a side dish for grilled chicken or steak, a big pasta bake to make for a crowd, or even to make the star of the show as the main course with salad.
Now here’s the deal. I use my fresh basil pesto recipe for this, mostly because we love it so much.
You can really use ANY pesto you’d like here. That’s the beauty in this recipe. In the winter, when a large amount of fresh basil isn’t accessible to me, I may use Rao’s jarred pesto. Or I’ll make a sun dried tomato or even kale pesto.
That is the best part of this recipe!
You can use a store bought pesto AND you can use any variety of pesto. Because that’s all it is. Pasta, pesto, cheese.
See? Embarrassingly easy!
The other key to making this extra delicious is the combination of cheeses. First, you want to toss the pesto-coated pasta with some grated cheese. I like to use freshly grated provolone but if I’m in a pinch, I’ll use the Tillamook italian blend cheese mix, which is fabulous. Mixing this in makes it cheesy all over, and can anyone say no to that?
Next, I top it with sliced fresh mozzarella. I love how this melts and creates the perfect topping.
When it comes out of the oven, the whole pasta dish gets sprinkled with parmesan cheese. I also like to do a pinch of red pepper flakes on my own portion.
Just look at that melty cheese!
Forever favorite over here.
Baked Pesto Pasta
Baked Pesto Pasta
- Note: if you haven’t made the pesto yet, make that first! You can also use store-bought pesto. Any variety works.
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a 9x3 inch baking dish with nonstick spray.
- Cook the penne until it’s al dente according to the directions.
- Place the penne in the baking dish. Add the pesto and toss well until all the noodles and pesto are combined. Stir in the 1 ½ cups shredded cheese. Top with slices of fresh mozzarella.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Sprinkle with the parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes. Top with fresh basil. Serve immediately!
And the burst cheese parts are allll mine.