Baked Penne with Corn, Zucchini and Basil
Enriched with two kinds of cheeses, this baked pasta showcases favorite summer vegetables at their seasonal best, including sweet corn, zucchini and fresh tomatoes.
Kosher salt, to taste
1/2 lb. penne
6 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
Kernels cut from 2 ears of corn
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 zucchini, about 2 lb. total, cut into half-moons
1/2 yellow onion, diced
4 tomatoes, cored, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 Tbs. sliced garlic
1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1 Tbs. tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, grated
2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
Preheat an oven to 400ºF.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Generously salt the water, add the pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain the pasta and rinse under cold running water. Set aside.
In a 12-inch nonstick fry pan over medium-high heat, warm 3 Tbs. of the olive oil. Add the corn, season with salt and black pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn is lightly golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl. Set aside.
Return the pan to medium-high heat and warm the remaining 3 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches, add the zucchini, season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the zucchini is tender and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the corn. Repeat with the remaining zucchini, adding more oil to the pan as needed.
Set the pan over medium-low heat. Add the onion, 1 tsp. salt and black pepper, to taste. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes soften and begin to form a sauce, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine has reduced and the sauce is fairly thick, about 3 minutes more.
Add the pasta, tomato sauce, basil, mozzarella and half of the Parmigiano-Reggiano to the bowl with the vegetables and stir to combine. Transfer to the fry pan and sprinkle the remaining Parmigiano-Reggiano on top. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until golden brown on top, 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm. Serves 8.