Wondering what to do with all those boxes of penne pasta in your pantry? Don’t settle for pasta and tomato sauce. With a few extra steps, you’ll have an easy dinner everyone will be drooling over. Make it fuss-free with penne pasta recipes that are perfect for weeknights, and satisfying enough to please kids and adults alike.
01. Penne all’ Arrabbiata
Arrabbiata means “angry” in Italian, and this classic Roman pasta dish gets its cheeky name from its signature spicy tomato sauce, made with garlic and red chile peppers. You can make the sauce in about the time it takes to boil a pot of penne, making it a great family dinner option on rushed weeknights.
02. Chicken, Cheese, and Penne Pasta Bake
In less than an hour, you can bake a yummy chicken penne casserole for a weeknight dinner. Kids will love digging their forks into the tender and gooey pasta, which contains sneaky nutrition in the form of artichokes and mushrooms, along with a deliciously creamy cheese sauce.
03. Pumpkin Pecan Penne
Rich-tasting pumpkin pecan penne features two favorite fall flavors, but you can make this easy, sophisticated pasta dish at any time of year with canned pumpkin puree. Its gorgeously creamy sauce is as rich as a traditional Alfredo but is completely dairy-free, so it’s suitable for vegans, or those avoiding lactose.
04. Penne Pasta With Fresh Artichokes
Fresh artichokes in season are a real treat, and their gorgeous, mild green flavor needs a little tweaking. Enjoy them Roman-style in this simple, elegant dish of pasta and artichokes flavored with olive oil, garlic, onion, butter, sea salt, and lemon juice.
05. Spicy Sausage and Penne Casserole
Bake up a penne pasta casserole that’s as satisfying as lasagne, but less work. Loaded with smoked andouille sausage, Creole seasonings, and cheddar cheese, it makes a filling family dinner and freezes well for making ahead. The pasta will continue to cook in the oven, so undercook it by a minute or two when pre-boiling.
06. Penne Pasta With Creamy Tomato and Meat Sauce
If you’ve got an hour at the end of the day, you have time to make this crowd-pleasing pasta with creamy tomato and meat sauce. The hearty ragu is simple to make on the stovetop and includes hidden veggies for extra nutrients. If you’d rather skip the small amount of wine in the recipe, you can replace it with water or broth.
07. Baked Penne Casserole With Ham and Peas
Use up the leftover ham in this easy, cheesy baked pasta casserole that you can dig into pronto, or freeze for enjoying later. The rich cheddar cheese sauce thickens as it bakes, creating an appetizing stratum of cooked penne, diced ham, and peas. The crunchy, buttery, browned breadcrumb topping is a bonus!
Don’t forget to experiment with penne pasta varieties either! Mini penne noodles make a great substitute for elbow macaroni, and ridged penne rigate is perfect for capturing every bit of a delicious sauce. The recipes above surely make an easy dinner on your weekday night.