Effortless Early Fall Baked Penne with Garlicky Toast


I’ m often asked for super easy weeknight dishes, and one of my go-to meals is pasta. I like to use the pasta as a canvas to play with interesting flavors and textures. This dish is a combination of sweet, spicy, salty, and savory and I think it’s a home-run!

Try it out.


 Early Fall Baked Penne

1 eggplant, diced

1 head fennel, diced

12 small brussel sprouts, quartered

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 tsp hot pepper flake

1 T chopped fresh oregano

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup grate pecornio romano cheese

1/2 cup pasta water

3 roma tomatoes, chopped

1 box penne rigate

1/4 cup aged goat cheese, grated (If you can’t get an aged goat cheese, use fresh and crumble into the pasta, it will make a different texture but will be delish!)

4 oz pancetta

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

  • Heat a large pot of water to the cook the pasta. Cook the pasta to instructions on the box, drain and keep 1/2 cup of pasta water, drizzle the drained pasta with a touch of oil. Set aside.
  •  In a large saute pan heat 1 T of olive oil and add your pancetta.
  • Brown the pancetta over medium heat until crispy.
  • Remove with a slotted spoon, and leave the pork fat in the pan for flavor. 🙂
  • Add your eggplant in, turn the heat to high. Cook for several minutes to start to soften the eggplant.
  • Add in your fennel and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add in your sliced garlic and cook for 2 minutes, keep the heat high-medium high.
  • Add in your brussels sprouts, tomatoes, golden raisins, hot pepper flake, and oregano.
  • Cook for 2-3 to start to soften and brown the vegetables.
  • When they start to color, add in the pasta water.
  • Cook until eggplant is soft and brussels sprouts are halfway cooked.
  • The sauce should start to get thick, season with salt and pepper.
  • In a baking dish, mix in pasta, your sautéed vegetables, pancetta, pine nuts, pecorino and grated aged goat cheese.
  • Top with more grated pecorino and aged goat cheese.
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. The cheese should be melted and golden brown.

Garlicky Toasts

1/2 loaf rustic italian bread cut into 6 slices

2 T butter

2 T Good olive oil ( I use Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

2 cloves garlic, grated on microplane

salt and pepper

sprinkle grated pecorino

  • Combine butter with grated garlic (minced if you do not have a microplane)
  • Mix in olive oil
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Smear compound butter on bread slices, top with sprinkle of pecorino
  • Bake until golden brown and delicious – about 4-5 minutes in a 400 degree oven

Hope you try it out! SO simple and delicious


Chef Sean Gallagher


2 thoughts on “Effortless Early Fall Baked Penne with Garlicky Toast

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