Test Kitchen Tuesday: Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Yesterday, 2Chili had a great idea for this week’s Test Kitchen Tuesday. He wanted me to start a new feature called “Taste” Kitchen Tuesday where we went out to eat every so often at new restaurants in Bend and highlighted some of the more unique dining options here. He even offered to go to Thai food. (Seriously, who stole the real 2Chili??)

Alas. There are forest fires burning quite heavily in the mountains outside of town, and the place we wanted to go was kind of a street-car type place called Spork that operates out of an old Airstream trailer.They only have outside seating, and we didn’t want to go inhale smoke for that long.spork

Spork was a referral from (you’ll laugh) the trash account set up lady. When I called to set up trash service, the woman who helped me was so friendly and offered up a ton of local eating and drinking recommendations. And, so goes our experience in Bend. Everyone is SO nice. It’s refreshing and confusing all at the same time. We’re used to the go-go-go attitude of the city, not the stop-and-say-hello-to-a-stranger attitude of a small-ish town. Anyway…

Our plans to visit Spork are on the backburner for now, and we did a “real” TKT instead. I have to say, it was delightful. It’s somewhat similar to the Cashew Cheese Baked Ziti from months ago, but really totally different. And yum!

This one comes from Giada, so naturally it calls for what I consider a lot of butter and oil. I am here to say, you totally don’t need all the butter and oil (or salt). I scaled this recipe in half, but I scaled the butter and oil in 1/4, and didn’t add any extra salt. I also couldn’t find fontina cheese, so just used an Italian mix of provolone, mozzarella, and parmesan. It was fine. Also, I couldn’t find any “no-salt added” marinara sauce at the store, so I made my own out of no-salt added tomatoes and tomato paste and some Italian seasoning (yay for the Ninja Blender – tomato sauce in 2.5 seconds).

I am still learning how to photograph things on a white marble countertop, so please bear with me on the photo quality (and let’s not talk about the small chip I put into it that 2Chili already had to fix…boo.)


Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

Recipe Source: Food Network

Time Required: It took me 15 minutes to prep and 25 minutes to bake

2Chili’s Taster Rating (out of 5): 4.5
He thought it was better than the aforementioned Baked Ziti, which he really likes, and thought the mix of roasted veggies was really quite good.

The Cook’s Taster Rating (out of 5): 4.5

I appreciated that all the veggies were mixed in with the pasta so I didn’t really have to think up a side dish (though a small salad would have been good). It used “run of the mill” veggies and ingredients I mostly had on hand – so very easy to whip up on a weeknight.


Note: This is for the way I made it: 1/4 the called for butter and oil, no added salt, but using store bought marinara (I used homemade).


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