Roasted Vegetable Penne

5:00:00 AM

I love to make a dish that no one realizes is healthier than it is, don't you? My little girls requested noodles for their birthday again...but this time, Mommy added some extra veggies in the mix, and no one was the wiser.

My husband walked in right after the vegetables were done roasting for this dish and told me the house smelled like a pizzeria.

Here's what you need for this amazing pasta dish that will feed a crowd (like 16 people!)

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, cooked
1 onion, quartered
8 oz baby carrots
3 small sweet bell peppers, cored and halved
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 lbs whole wheat penne
1 28 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can of tomato sauce
16 oz shredded mozzarella cheese

Toss vegetables with olive oil and Italian spices and fennel seeds. Spread on to a sheet pan that is covered with parchment paper.

Roast the vegetables for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they start to caramelize.

Boil noodles as directed on box, but take off heat and drain 1 minute before the shortest time on the box (so if it says cook for 8-10 minutes, cook for only 7).

While noodles are cooking, mix all remaining ingredients except meat and cheese in a large pot. Simmer for 15 minutes. Use and immersion blender to incorporate large chunks and make sauce smooth. Drain noodles.

Mix noodles, sauce, meat, and half the cheese together. Place in a large casserole dish. You can refrigerate at this point, if you desire.

When you're ready to bake, remove from the fridge and let sit while you preheat oven to 350. Bake, covered with foil, for 25 minutes. While baking, shred the remainder of the cheese.

Uncover and spread cheese over top of noodle mixture and bake for 20 more minutes.

Not a single person in my extended family realized that we had extra vegetables in this pasta--including some very picky folks. Have a vegetarian in the group? Make a smaller casserole dish--and just don't mix in the sausage.

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