Basil and Roasted Garlic Baked Penne

Classic Baked Penne pasta bake made with easy tomato sauce and lots of cheese. This easy homemade spaghetti sauce is made with aromatic roasted garlic and fresh basil.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Keyword pasta, pasta bake, pasta casserole, pasta sauce, penne, roasted garlic, spaghetti sauce, tomato sauce
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 569 kcal


Roasted garlic:

  • 1 garlic bulb
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Vidalia onion diced
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh basil
  • 2 tsp thyme dry or fresh
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • Salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Pasta bake:

  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese to mix
  • 1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese to top
  • 2 tbsp freshly minced basil to top
US Customary - Metric


Roasted garlic:

  1. Preheat oven to 400.

  2. Cut off tips from garlic cloves still on the bulb (leave skin on) and place them on an aluminum foil square that you can wrap it in. Drizzle some olive oil on the garlic bulb. Wrap it in aluminum foil. Place wrapped garlic on the baking sheet.

  3. Bake garlic for 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the bulb.

  4. Take out of the oven and set aside to cool down.

Tomato sauce:

  1. Preheat medium pot over medium heat and add oil. 

  2. Add diced onion and saute until transparent. 

  3. Add can of crushed tomatoes and roasted garlic. (Easiest way to get garlic out of the skin is to gently squeeze it out.) Stir well and bring to simmer. 

  4. Add bay leaf, basil, thyme, sugar, salt, and pepper. Stir well, lower heat to low, cover and cook for about 45 minutes. Stir once in a while.

  5. Take out bay leaf.

  6. Add Parmesan cheese and transfer the content of the pot into a blender. Cover and blend until smooth. 

  7. Pour sauce back into the pot and let it cook for a new more minutes, so that the cheese gets a chance to incorporate. 

Pasta Bake:

  1. While sauce is cooking, cook pasta according to package instructions, strain and set side.

  2. Preheat oven to 350.

  3. Mix pasta with pasta sauce and 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Transfer into a lightly greased casserole dish. 

  4. Top pasta with some more fresh basil and Mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15-20 minutes. 

Recipe Notes

All images and text ©Lyubov Brooke for ©Will Cook For Smiles. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If using my posts in collections and features, please link back to this post for the recipe. Disclaimer: Nutrition information shown is not guaranteed to be 100% accurate as most ingredients and brands have a slight variation.

Nutrition Facts
Basil and Roasted Garlic Baked Penne
Amount Per Serving
Calories 569 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 7g44%
Cholesterol 35mg12%
Sodium 553mg24%
Potassium 695mg20%
Carbohydrates 76g25%
Fiber 5g21%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 24g48%
Vitamin A 715IU14%
Vitamin C 18.6mg23%
Calcium 378mg38%
Iron 3.3mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.