There is nothing quite as comforting as a baked pasta dish. The sides get a little crispy and topping of melty cheese is to die for. Here we changed up the classic Penne alla Vodka a little bit and added in ground turkey. The result is a creamy pasta that satisfies every carb craving possible with a little extra boost of protein.
extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
small yellow onion, diced
cloves garlic, minced
(28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
freshly grated Parmesan, divided
crushed red pepper flakes
fresh mozzarella, sliced
Fresh basil, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375°. In a large pot of boiling salted water, boil pasta until almost al dente, about 2 minutes less than directions call for. Drain.
- Meanwhile, in a medium pot or large high-sided skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add turkey and cook, breaking meat up with a wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. Drain any excess grease as needed.
- Return skillet over medium heat and season turkey with salt and pepper. Add onion and cook until softened, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute more. Add tomato paste and stir until meat is well coated and starts to darken, about 1 minute. Add vodka and cook, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan, until completely reduced, 1 to 2 minutes more. Add crushed tomatoes, heavy cream, ¼ cup of Parmesan, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer then reduce heat and let simmer while pasta continues to cook or at least until mixture is warmed all the way through, stirring occasionally.
- Add drained pasta to sauce and stir to coat. Pour pasta into a large baking dish. Top with remaining ¼ cup of Parmesan and mozzarella slices.
- Bake until cheese is melty and sides are bubbling, about 25 minutes.
- Top with fresh basil to serve.