Cheesy Tomato Penne Bake

I have been eating a lot of pasta lately. And a lot of crackers and cereal and toast. Honestly, I think I’ve eaten more carbs in the past three months than in all of 2010. But there’s a pretty good reason…I’m 13 and a half weeks pregnant! Mike and I are completely thrilled. In fact, we’re so excited we’ve already bought 3 books for the baby (our only baby-related purchase so far).

Pregnancy has put a slight damper on my running, but I’ve still been averaging at least 25 miles a week (although a couple weeks during the complete exhaustion of the first trimester it was closer to 20). I was hoping I’d still be able to run Boston, and fortunately my doctor gave me the green light, so I’ll be run/walking it at 20 weeks! I had already planned on running with my dad, and now that there’s a third generation involved I’m even more excited.

Speaking of running, this weekend’s 16-miler was GORGEOUS. I’m not sure why the city of San Francisco has closed the Great Highway to cars the last two Sundays, but I’m not complaining!

If you’ve ever run the Nike Women’s marathon, that picture was taken about where the 25 mile marker is. It’s so cruel to have the last 2 miles of the race be on a long straight stretch with the finish line in view, but at least the scenery is nice.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of running along the ocean.

After any long run, comfort food is always on my mind, and this recipe fits the bill perfectly. I adapted a recipe for baked ziti, but left out the meat (obviously), subbed in whole wheat penne, and replaced the cream and cornstarch with a little light cream cheese. Mike and I both loved this as dinner and as leftovers for a few days.

Recipe:
(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated via Annie’s Eats)

1 lb. 1% or fat free cottage cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
salt and pepper
1 lb. whole wheat penne
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
5 medium cloves garlic, minced
1 28 oz. can tomato sauce
1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
1 tsp. dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1 tsp. sugar
4 oz. light cream cheese, softened
8 oz. low-moisture part-skim mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Stir the cottage cheese, eggs, and 1/2 cup Parmesan together in a medium bowl.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for about 6 minutes, or until soft but not cooked through. Drain in a colander.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook until the onion is very soft. Stir in the tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, oregano and basil, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Put the pot you used to cook the pasta over low heat. Add the drained pasta and cream cheese, and stir until the pasta is coated well. Stir in the cottage cheese mixture, 1 1/2 cups of the tomato sauce and about half the mozzarella. Mix well, making sure the pasta is coated with sauce.

Put the pasta into a 9×13″ baking dish and spread the remaining tomato sauce evenly over the top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan over the tomato sauce. Bake for about 30 minutes

Remove from the oven and let stand for about 15 minutes before serving.

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17 Responses to “Cheesy Tomato Penne Bake”


  1. 1 Amy @ The Nifty Foodie March 2, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    Congratulations!!! 🙂 That’s so exciting! And wow, what a view you have for your runs!

  2. 2 ryan March 2, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    congrats on the pregnancy cate, its truly awesome. excited to see what you recipes you come up with for the lil guy/girl too.

  3. 3 Laura March 3, 2011 at 3:04 am

    Congratulations Cate!

  4. 4 Annie March 3, 2011 at 3:30 am

    Congrats on going public with the news 🙂 Buying books for my kids is absolutely my favorite thing to buy. Before Andrew was born we spent hours at the bookstore reading and choosing kid books.

    So glad you enjoyed this meal! Definitely one of my favorites for making and having it feed us for a long time.

  5. 5 Cara March 3, 2011 at 4:07 am

    Congratulations, Cate!!! I’m so excited for you, and can’t wait to meet the little babe when we move down to the bay! 🙂

  6. 6 Tasha March 3, 2011 at 5:13 am

    Congratulations. It’s quite the amazing experience. And how wonderful you can continue with the running you love so much, especially Boston!

  7. 7 Danielle March 3, 2011 at 5:26 am

    Congrats – that’s so exciting!

  8. 8 Kierstan @ Life {and running} in Iowa March 3, 2011 at 6:03 am

    Congrats! And that dish looks easy and spectacular!

  9. 9 Tracey March 3, 2011 at 6:52 am

    Congratulations Cate! What wonderful news!

  10. 10 Kelsey March 3, 2011 at 7:36 am

    Yay yay YAY! I’m so excited for you! Congratulations on the little one!

  11. 11 Roxan March 3, 2011 at 7:44 am

    Cate, CONGRATS! I’m so excited for you. I can’t wait to read all about your pregnancy, so please update about it! 🙂 So glad you are keeping up with your nutrition and fitness during your pregnancy… I hope when that day comes for me I’ll be able to do the same.

  12. 12 Jen March 3, 2011 at 8:52 am

    Congratulations Cate! Wishing you a healthy and happy pregnancy. I can’t wait to read about how you’re feeling and running through pregnancy. I am praying that when the day comes, I will also be able to workout/run through pregnancy.

    So excited for you!!!

  13. 13 Kate March 3, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I’m so glad you’re public so I don’t seem like such a creepy stalker in my comments! But of course, my favorite part of this post is reading all the comments. Hope they make you feel warm and fuzzy.

  14. 14 Ali March 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Looks delish and congratulations!

  15. 15 Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles March 3, 2011 at 11:33 am

    AHH!! Cate, this is so exciting! Congratulations! Here’s a healthy pregnancy! 🙂

  16. 16 Caitlin March 5, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Aw, I’ve been a reader of yours for a while now and felt like this is the time to finally comment. Congratulations on the baby on the way! You’re rather inspirational with your recovery from an eating disorder and remediated relationship with both food and exercise. Wishing you all of the best!

  17. 17 Alaina March 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Congrats Cate! That is such wonderful, amazing news!!! 🙂


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