cheesy baked penne WITH CREAMY TOMATO SAUCE AND SEASONAL VEGETABLES

This recipe offers a grown-up way to eat baked ziti: three delicious cheeses, vodka sauce, and some vegetables for good measure. Easily doubled or even tripled, this recipe is ideal for potlucks or dinner parties—and you can assemble it ahead of time and bake it just before serving.

SERVES 2

Seasonal vegetables

2 cloves garlic

4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

2 sprigs fresh basil

1 sprig fresh oregano

2 sprigs fresh thyme

8 ounces penne pasta

tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper

2 cups Tomato Sauce alla Vodka or 1 14-ounce jar marinara sauce

cup ricotta cheese, store-bought or homemade

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan or pecorino cheese

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat for the pasta.
3. Prepare the seasonal vegetables. Mince the garlic. Cut half the mozzarella into ¼-inch dice and thinly slice the remainder. Roughly tear the basil leaves. Roughly chop the oregano leaves. Strip the thyme leaves from the stems.
4. Add the penne and a generous pinch of salt to the boiling water. Cook until just a bit too al dente to eat, with a slight bite, about 2 minutes less than the lower range on the package instructions. Drain the pasta.
5. Meanwhile, in a large ovenproof sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the seasonal vegetables, oregano, thyme, crushed red pepper, salt, and pepper. Sauté until slightly tender, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato sauce, stir to combine, and bring to a simmer. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Remove the pan from the heat.