I loooooove pasta.
Enough said. I mean, who doesn’t like pasta?
Pasta dishes are one of those things that can be done in a healthy way or made to be extremely unhealthy and fatty. Most baked pasta dishes are on the unhealthier side. They tend to be loaded with several types of cheeses or coated in an extremely rich sauce. This baked dish keeps the heartiness and warmth, but scales back on the richness.
Baked pasta dishes also have many positives. In the fall and winter they are perfect for wanting that warming comfort food. Also if you want to bribe someone to do something for you, show up at their door with a beautiful baked pasta, and you’re golden.
One of the great things about this vegetarian dish is that it is perfect for even meat eaters. Of course you can always add meat to this dish, but honestly it doesn’t need it. It’s an easy way to sneak in some greens, too. To keep with the healthy side I used brown rice pasta. Use any pasta of your choice, but these days brown rice pasta is my favorite. (I’m not a gluten free girl, but the rice is much easier on my stomach.)
The tomato sauce I made for this dish will make our house smell A-MAZ-ING!! The second that wine hit the hot pan, I was done!
Enjoy this dish the smell of your house, and feel free to add any extra veggies and spices to change up the flavor.
- 12 oz. penne pasta (I used brown rice)
- 2-3 cups tomato sauce (any kind, or use recipe below)
- 1 pound Swiss chard, stems removed
- ¾ cup cheese of choice (mozzarella, fontina, etc.)
- Fresh basil (optional)
- Tomato Sauce:
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 14 oz can diced tomatoes
- 1 8 oz can tomato sauce
- Red wine
- Red pepper flakes (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- To make tomato sauce (skip if using your own), over medium-low heat saute onion in olive oil. Cook about 3 minutes and add garlic. Once onion is soft and translucent add a splash of red wine. Simmer 1 minute then add in canned tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Turn heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 15 minutes.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Fill a small bowl with ice water.
- Place chard leaves into boiling water for 1 minute.
- Remove chard and quickly place in ice water.
- Using same boiling water cook pasta according to package directions, shortened by 2 minutes.
- While pasta is cooking remove chard and squeeze out excess water.
- Chop chard into rough pieces.
- In a large bowl combine chard, cooked pasta, cheese, and tomato sauce.
- Pour pasta mixture into a large baking dish.
- Sprinkle a tiny amount of cheese on top (optional)
- Cover and bake 30-35 minutes.
- Uncover pasta and broil 1-2 minutes for a golden crunchy top.
- Let pasta cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
- Top with fresh basil, if using.