This is one easy way to sneak in some extra veggies.
Giada De Laurentiis on a designed background next to Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
Credit: Getty Images / David Livingston, Giadzy

There's something undeniably cozy about a big pan of baked pasta. Whether it's a spicy twist on leftover chicken or a classic lasagna, the tender pasta, flavorful marinara and gooey cheese make it a classic comfort food. And we know from experience (see our recipe for Gruyere, Asparagus & Pea Baked Pasta) that adding veggies makes any baked pasta even more delicious—and a little healthier, too.

That's why we're excited to get our hands on this new pasta recipe from Giada De Laurentiis, whose pasta tips keep us feeling like pros in the kitchen. De Laurentiis' blog, the Giadzy, just shared this simple Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables that's packed with tasty veggies.

With produce like bell pepper, summer squash, cremini mushrooms and onion adding flavor and texture to this dish, it's a perfect meal for welcoming in the warmer weather. De Laurentiis even adds a generous dose of frozen peas to this recipe for an extra hit of veggies without all the prep.

To make this dreamy casserole a reality in your kitchen, you'll need to add two red bell peppers, two zucchini, two summer squash, four cremini mushrooms and a yellow onion to your shopping list, plus penne pasta, marinara sauce, fontina cheese, mozzarella, Parmesan, frozen peas and unsalted butter. De Laurentiis sticks with classic pantry seasonings in this recipe, and you may have salt, pepper and herbes de Provence already on hand. (Herbes de Provence is also pretty easy to make with dried herbs from your spice cabinet—and since rosemary plays a starring role in this spice blend, you may even reap some anti-inflammatory benefits.)

The first step in Giada's recipe is roasting all the chopped veggies—hold the peas, please—in the oven at 450°F with some olive oil, salt and pepper. While the veggies are roasting, bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Per Giada's advice, you can salt the water for more flavorful pasta, or you can skip this step or scale back if you're watching your sodium intake. The good news is that much of that salt will go down the drain when you strain your pasta. Cook's Illustrated found that most pasta shapes absorb ¼ teaspoon of salt per pound when you add a tablespoon of salt to four quarts of pasta water.

One swap we'd suggest making is to replace the penne in this recipe with whole-wheat or brown-rice penne. Swapping in whole grains means you'll instantly up the fiber count of this dinner, which will help you feel fuller for longer after eating and can help keep your blood sugars—and energy levels—more stable. In any case, cook the pasta for about six minutes—undercooking is alright in this recipe, since you'll be popping it back in the oven later on.

Once your veggies are roasted and pasta drained, combine them in a large bowl with marinara sauce (try our slow-cooker recipe if you're feeling up to a project), all three cheeses, the thawed peas and a little more salt and pepper. Stir gently until everything is combined, then transfer the mixture to a greased 9- by 13-inch baking dish. (You could also do this mixing step directly in your baking dish to cut down on dirty dishes—just know the pasta might stick to the sides of the dish a bit more.) Top your penne with the last bit of Parmesan cheese and some small pieces of butter. Bake the pasta for 25 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbly.

You'll end up with six servings of this pasta dish, which has racked up quite a few reviews on Giadzy, including one person who says this dinner is "a great recipe" for those looking to eat more vegetarian meals. "I have made this recipe SO many times!," another reviewer adds. "It is one of our favorite cold-weather family meals, and I've brought it to numerous friends who've recently had a baby."

Others on Instagram said they love to trade the veggies for whatever they have on hand, including Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms and spinach. "I've been using this recipe for years. FANTASTIC!!," one home cook cheered in the comments. Sounds like this recipe might just be in our clean-out-the-fridge rotation from now on.