Past Recipes
Creamy Baked Penne

Creamy Baked Penne with Mozzarella, Ricotta, and Basil

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Recipe Details


Chef Michelle’s blueprint for a winning pasta bake? Start with the sauce, stir in the penne, layer with cheese, cheese, and more cheese, and bake until everything melds together. This classic baked penne has it all, plus spinach and basil to complete Michelle’s Italian flag inspiration. Since she couldn’t choose between red sauce or white, she adds a splash of cream for a “blushing” marinara and extra richness. Your nonna would be so proud.   


  • Vegetarian

Quick facts

Serving size
Prep & cook time
Cooking Skill
By Chef Michelle

By Chef Michelle

Nutritional info

  • Calories 800
  • Protein 30g
  • Total Carb 112g
  • Total Fat 26g

Given the cook-at-home nature of Plated and natural variation in ingredients, nutritional information is approximated. See details.

Ingredients & Equipment

What we send

  • baby spinach
    3 ounces
    baby spinach
  • basil
    1/4 ounce
  • yellow onion
    yellow onion
  • garlic
    1 clove
  • jar marinara sauce
    jar marinara sauce
  • penne pasta
    8 ounces
    penne pasta
  • heavy cream
    1 container
    heavy cream
  • shredded mozzarella cheese
    1 ounce
    shredded mozzarella cheese
  • grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 ounce
    grated Parmesan cheese
  • ricotta cheese
    4 ounces
    ricotta cheese
  • aluminum tin
    aluminum tin

What You’ll Need

  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • 8" medium pot
  • 12" large high-sided pan
  • baking sheet

Cooking Steps

  1. Prepare ingredients

    Prepare ingredients

    Preheat oven to 450°F. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Rinse spinach and pat dry with paper towel. Rinse basil and roughly chop leaves, discarding stems. Peel onion, halve, and thinly slice. Mince garlic

  2. Make sauce

    Make sauce

    Heat ½ tablespoon olive oil in a large high-sided pan over medium-high heat. When oil is shimmering, add onion and garlic and cook, stirring, until softened, 3-4 minutes. Add marinara sauce, bring to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 3-4 minutes. 

  3. Cook penne

    Cook penne

    While sauce simmers, season boiling water generously with salt. Stir in penne and cook until almost al dente, about 7 minutes (it will continue cooking in the oven). Then, drain and set aside. 

  4. Finish sauce

    Finish sauce

    While pasta cooks, stir ¼ cup heavy cream into sauce, still over medium-high heat, and cook until warmed through, about 1 minute more. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pepper. Remove pan from heat. 

  5. Bake penne

    Bake penne

    Once cooked, stir penne into pan with sauce, still off heat, along with spinach. Reshape tin if bent, then pour in penne and spread in an even layer. Sprinkle over mozzarella and half of Parmesan. Dollop over half of ricotta (save remainder for a snack). Place tin on a baking sheet and bake until pasta is golden and bubbling, about 12 minutes. 

  6. Plate creamy baked penne

    Plate creamy baked penne

    While penne bakes, use this downtime to catch up on dishes or pour a glass of something special. Divide creamy baked penne between serving bowls, garnish with basil and remaining Parmesan, and dig in! 

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