Baked Penne

Prep Time: 20 min Cook Time: 15 min
Servings: 6 Skill Level: easy

A dressed up mac and cheese that’s fancy enough for adults and cheesy enough for kids to love too! A creamy goat cheese sauce gets folded with penne, kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, basil, and pine nuts, then crisped up with a cheesy parmesan bread crumb crust on top.


  • 12 ounces dry penne
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons minced shallots, from 1-2 medium shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon all-purpose flour
  • 2 3/4 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 7 ounces (about 1¼ cups) crumbled goat cheese, divided
  • 4 ounces (about 1¼ cups packed)
  • grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 cup Pearls Specialties Sliced Kalamata Greek Olives
  • 1/2 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 3 tablespoons coarse dry breadcrumbs

Cooking Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the pasta according to instructions, until al dente. Drain well, toss lightly with olive oil to keep it from sticking, and transfer to a large
    mixing bowl. Return the same pot, unwashed, the stove to make the roux.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  3. In the same pot you used to cook the pasta, melt butter over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook, stirring, until the shallots begin to soften. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Whisk in the flour and cook, whisking, for 1 minute. Slowly add the milk, salt, and pepper, whisking until smooth.
  4. Cook, whisking occasionally, until it begins to boil. Continue cooking for 1 1/2 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  5. All at once, add 6 ounces (about 1 cup) of the crumbled goat cheese (reserving 1 ounce for topping), 3 ounces (about 1 cup) of the grated parmesan cheese (reserving 1 ounce for topping), salt, and pepper. Whisk until melted and completely smooth. Pour over the pasta. Add kalamata olives, sun-dried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and basil, and toss thoroughly to combine.
  6. Transfer the creamy pasta to a 9×12 or 7×11 casserole dish or baking pan. Sprinkle with remaining 1 ounce of parmesan and goat cheese. Sprinkle with fresh breadcrumbs. Bake for 10 minutes. Increase the heat to broil and broile just until the cheese begins to turn golden brown and crispy, 2-3 minutes.
  7. Serve the baked penne warm topped with fresh basil. Leftovers keep covered in the fridge for up to 5 days.
  8. To reheat, put in individual bowls with a splash of whole milk, and microwave. The milk will help it remain creamy.

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