I was inspired to try a baked pasta because I was tired of our usual requests for pasta — and when I saw these beautiful carrots I knew they would be delicious paired with a tomato based sauce. There are a few cool techniques that I learned from reading through Jamie Oliver recipes, like frying basil and rubbing sage leaves with olive oil. You will really notice the flavor if you try that out. I love him!
This dish does have a few extra steps, but I promise you it is worth it! Baked pasta makes incredible leftovers, and freezes really well. This particular dish has a nice level of sweetness because of the carrots and I think it tasted even better the next day.
My resident picky six year old loved this and barely even noticed he was scarfing down roasted carrots and basil! Parenting win!
Enjoy — and let me know what you think of the carrots. A great recipe to make with the kids after a trip to the farmer’s market, too.
- 4 large carrots
- Few sprigs of thyme (optional)
- Olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed then sliced
- A few torn fresh basil leaves
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 16 oz. can of San Marzano tomatoes
- Sea salt
- Cracked black pepper
- 3 Tbsp ricotta
- 3 cups vegetable stock (may not need all of it)
- 1 large mozzarella ball (or 2 medium sized), in water
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 3-4 fresh sage leaves, rubbed lightly with olive oil
- Preheat oven to 400
- Rinse carrots, dry well and chop in ½ inch chunks. Toss with olive oil, salt, clove of garlic and sprigs of thyme. Roast until tender enough and beginning to caramelize, about 20 minutes
- Prepare sauce by heating olive oil in large saucepan; add rest of garlic and basil let them fry up for a minute or two. Add can of tomatoes, let them heat up before breaking up the tomatoes.
- Let sauce come to a boil, and then add your roasted carrots. Let this come back to a boil and boil for 10-12 minutes.
- Bring large pot of water to a boil, add salt just before it boils. Add penne, cook for a few minutes less than directed on the package. Drain and toss with sauce. Gently stir in ricotta, basil leaves and add stock slowly, bring to a simmer.
- Meanwhile rub a large baking tray with some olive oil and spoon in pasta and sauce. Tear chunks of mozzarella and place all around pasta, add grated Parmesan on top and sage leave.
- Put into preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. It should be bubbling and cheese can get golden on top.