Quick & Easy Zesty Italian Penne Pasta Bake

Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 15 mins
Cook 1 hr

We like this recipe because we use fresh peppers, onions, and zucchini from our garden. I can up with this recipe because I needed a quick recipe for unexpected company and had left over marinara sauce in the refrigerator and breakfast sausage in the freezer. I usually make my recipe with ziti, however, penne pasta is basically the same thing. I make this recipe in the summer when I have lots of "fresh" zucchini from my garden. I always pick fresh, baby zucchini for this recipe, therefore, it isn't necessary to peel the zucchini or cook it, because it is very tender. When it is sliced thin, it cooks perfectly in the casserole and does not require prior cooking. I serve this with fresh garden salad and crusty bread or rolls.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Cook pasta to aldente stage, put in strainer, do not rinse and set aside to completely drain.
  2. Heat large saute pan, add olive oil, onion, sweet red peppers, hot crushed red pepper flakes and garlic.
  3. Saute on low until soft, not brown.
  4. Place in a small bowl and set aside.
  5. In same pan, brown sausage until cooked through.
  6. If not using Jimmy Dean Sausage, remove any excess fat.
  7. Return vegetable mixture back to pan and add tomato sauce, basil, salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 10 minutes.
  9. Grease 2 quart casserole, put 1/2 of the pasta, cover with 1/2 of the meat/sauce mixture, lay slices of 1/2 of the zucchini, sprinkle 1/2 of the cheese, repeat with a second layer of pasta, meat/sauce mixture, zucchini slices, ending with the remaining cheese.
  10. Bake covered in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, remove cover and bake until lightly brown, about 10 minutes.


Most Helpful

Whoo-Hoo-Hoo!! My family and I LOVED this casserole. Very zesty and well seasoned meat sauce. Your instructions were easy to follow and the zucchini was tender but not mush at the end of baking. Rich and cheesy too. Thank you for a unique and interesting new dish.

sarabeth123 February 08, 2003

Filling and easy-to-make casserole but a bit too spicy for our taste. Next time I make this casserole I will cut back on the red pepper flakes a little.

ellie_ February 17, 2003

I give this wonderful recipe, 5 "Pizza" Stars! LOL The taste of the sausage, the zesty peppers and tomato sauce really hits the spot. My friends did not want to leave after visiting, until I gave them my "Secret" recipe for this dish! I can't wait till I make it once again for other guests and receive complements. I tip my "Cooking Hat Off" to the talented cook who created this "Quick and Zesty" dish!!!

Skipper/Sy February 14, 2003

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