Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Pasta Bake is an easy to make meal that is perfect for busy weeknights. It combines the rich flavors of sun-dried tomatoes with a creamy sauce, mozzarella and al dente pasta, all baked to perfection. It is a comforting meal that is both satisfying and delicious with so much flavor.
You can make the sauce in the time that it takes to heat the water and cook the pasta. It is easily combined in a skillet and transferred to a baking dish to bake for 20-25 minutes so it makes it to the dinner table fast. Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Bake could also be made ahead of time and baked up to 2-3 days later.
If you would like to try some other baked pasta recipes that the whole family will enjoy check out Lasagna Roll Ups, Tuscan Chicken Baked Ziti, Baked Butternut Pasta, Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole, Baked Feta Ziti, Turkey Tetrazzini Ziti, Cheesy Mushroom Baked Rigatoni, Baked Ricotta Gnocchi, Pesto Chicken Lasagna, and Vegetable Lasagna. They are all comforting, easy to make pasta dishes.
SOME THINGS TO KNOW:FAQ’S
- Choose tangy sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil for extra flavor. Before using the tomatoes chop them into smaller pieces for even distribution throughout the dish. If you are using dry-packed sun dried tomatoes, rehydrate them in warm water for a few minutes before chopping them. Read How to Reconstitute Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
- Grating your own Parmesan cheese can provide a fresher and more intense flavor compared to pre-grated cheese.
- Fresh basil is recommended for its vibrant flavor. You can also add oregano, thyme, or Italian seasoning for additional depth.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
- Large Pot: For boiling the pasta. Choose a pot that is large enough to give the pasta plenty of room to cook evenly without sticking.
- Colander: For draining the cooked pasta.
- Large Skillet or Sauté Pan: This is used for sautéing the onions, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes, and for combining them with the tomato sauce and cream. A skillet with higher sides is beneficial as it can hold all the ingredients without spilling.
- Cheese Grater: If you are using a block of Parmesan cheese, a grater will be necessary for adding fresh, grated cheese to the dish.
- Knife and Cutting Board: For chopping the onions, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and any fresh herbs you might be using.
- Measuring Cups and Spoons: For accurately measuring ingredients like pasta, tomato sauce, cream, and seasonings.
- Baking Dish: A large baking dish or large pan is needed to assemble and bake the pasta. A 9 x 9 inch dish works well.
- Mixing Spoon or Spatula: For mixing the pasta with the sauce and other ingredients in the skillet, and for spreading the mixture evenly in the baking dish.
- Aluminum Foil (Optional): If you prefer a softer top, you can cover the baking dish with aluminum foil during part of the baking time.
- If you do not have penne pasta, rigatoni pasta, fusilli, ziti or farfalle dried pasta would make good substitutes. You could also use whole wheat or gluten-free pasta.
- If you do not have sun dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers can be a good substitute. They will not have the same intense flavor, but they will add a sweet and smoky taste.
- For a different flavor, try using fontina or provolone cheese in place of the mozzarella cheese.
- Pecorino Romano or Asiago cheese are good substitutes for Parmesan cheese.
- If fresh basil is not available, you can use dried basil. Dried herbs are more potent so use less so use one third of the amount when substituting dried for fresh.
- If you do not have tomato sauce you can substitute crushed tomatoes or diced tomatoes that have been blended until smooth.
- The olive oil can be substituted with another neutral flavored oil like vegetable oil or canola oil.
HOW TO STORE SUN DRIED TOMATO MOZZARELLA PASTA BAKE:
- Store the pasta bake in the refrigerator. It should keep well for 3 to 4 days. Allow the pasta bake to cool to room temperature before storing it. Transfer the cooled pasta bake to an airtight container. If you do not have a large enough container, you can also cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
- The pasta bake can be frozen for up to 2-3 months. Make sure the pasta bake is completely cooled before freezing it. Use freezer safe containers or heavy duty freezer bags to store the pasta bake.
- Thaw the sun dried tomato mozzarella pasta bake in the refrigerator overnight before reheating it.
HOW TO REHEAT SUN DRIED TOMATO MOZZARELLA PASTA BAKE:
- To reheat the sun dried tomato mozzarella pasta bake in the oven, preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Place the pasta bake in an oven safe dish and cover it with aluminum foil. Heat the pasta for about 20 minutes or until heated through.
- To reheat the pasta bake in the microwave, place the pasta in to a microwave safe dish. Cover it with a microwave safe lid or paper towel and heat on high for 2-3 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating. Heat at additional 1 minute intervals if needed until it is heated through.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions for 1 minute less than al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.Add the onion and minced garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are translucent. Add the sun dried tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in tomato sauce and heavy cream, and bring them to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the cooked pasta, half of the mozzarella, and the basil. Mix well.
Spoon the pasta mixture into a 9″ x 9″ baking dish. Top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Sun Dried Tomato Mozzarella Pasta BakePrint This
- 8 ounces pound penne pasta
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ cup yellow onion, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- ½ cup sun dried tomatoes, chopped
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded and divided
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat.
Cook the pasta in the boiling water according to package directions for 1 minute less than al dente. Drain and set aside.
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat.
Add the onion and minced garlic cloves and cook for 1-2 minutes until they are translucent. Do not let them brown.
Add sun dried tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes.
Pour in tomato sauce and heavy cream, and bring to a simmer over medium low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Stir in the cooked pasta, half of the mozzarella, and basil. Mix everything together well.
Spoon the pasta mixture into a 9″ x 9″ baking dish.
Top the pasta with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
Let the baked pasta cool for a few minutes before serving. Garnish with extra basil if desired.
Serve with extra parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes on the side, some crusty bread and a glass of white wine.