This vegetarian pasta bake is perfect for serving a crowd.
This dish is best eaten immediately out of the oven, as the pasta continues to absorb the sauce once baked. Leftovers are still good, just a bit less saucy.
All the components can be prepared ahead of time, including the pasta, stored in the fridge, and assembled and baked just before serving. Feel free to halve the recipe, or bake the penne in two separate batches, as I did above.
I find it easiest to leave the skins on the tomatoes, then run the cooked sauce through a food mill
to remove the skins and puree the sauce smooth. If you lack a food mill, you can skin the tomatoes with the following method: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Cut a shallow X in the bottom of each tomato. One by one, dunk each tomato in the water for about 10 seconds using a slotted spoon. Let cool, then slip off the skins, and proceed with the recipe, pulsing the cooked, cooled sauce in a food processor.
I've become a convert to Tinkayada's rice penne,
which has a nice firm and chewy texture, but feel free to use any smallish pasta you like.
Nutritional values are based on one of ten servings.