This healthier baked penne recipe has it all. First and most importantly, it is delicious. Second, it is healthy – or at least healthier than its traditional counterpart. Third, it is kid friendly. And last, but certainly not least, it is easy and fairly quick. I had it on the table in just over an hour. Ok, I was in a huge hurry, so if I went at my normal leisurely pace, it might have taken an extra fifteen minutes or so.
This started out as trying to make baked ziti a little healthier, but the grocery store didn’t have any whole grain ziti. They did have penne though, and there isn’t much difference, so penne is what I used. Then, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef or sausage and low-fat ricotta and mozzarella.
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- 2 Tbsps. olive oil
- 2 28 oz. cans tomato sauce
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder (Or, use real onion. I just am not fond of onion.)
- 1/2 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 15oz. container low-fat ricotta cheese
- 5 cups low-fat mozzarella cheese, grated and divided
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated and divided
- 1 lb. whole grain penne pasta
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brown turkey in olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drain.
- In a large pot, stir together tomato sauce, garlic, onion powder, oregano, basil, and cayenne. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let simmer while you prepare the penne.
- Cook penne according to package directions, drain, and rinse in cool water.
- While penne is cooking, stir together ricotta, 3 cups mozzarella, and 1/2 cup Parmesan.
- Stir penne into the cheese mixture.
- In a deep 9"x13" baking dish, ladle just enough sauce to cover the bottom of the dish.
- top with half of the penne mixture and then half of the sauce. Repeat with remaining penne and sauce.
- Top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
- Bake until bubbly and some of the cheese on top is just beginning to brown (20 to 30 minutes).