Whole Wheat Penne with Meat SauceClick to Play

Whole Wheat Penne with Meat Sauce

Penne Integrale al Ragu

Mary Ann Esposito

Whole wheat penne, slant cut tubular pasta with lines, provides nutty flavor and guilt free enjoyment in this homey ragu-style casserole. And even though the ingredients are humble, the addition of cream provides just enough richness to make this anything but ordinary tasting.

Serves six.


2 tablespoons Filippo Berio olive oil
1 small onion, minced
1/2 pound ground chuck
1 zucchini, grated
2 cups whole cherry tomatoes, washed
1 cup Provolone cheese, cubed
1 cup Pecorino cheese, grated
1 - 1/2 cup fresh Mozzarella cheese, cubed
1 tablespoon dried oregano
Salt to taste
Grinding black pepper to taste
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup minced fresh basil
1/2 pound whole wheat penne, cooked al dente
2/3 cup additional grated Pecorino cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat the olive oil in a 10 x 2-inch casserole dish with cover, such as Le Creuset or similar stovetop/ovenproof pan. Cook the onions over medium heat until they wilt; stir in the ground chuck and brown well. Stir in the zucchini and cook stirring well for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cherry tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Cook covered for 5 minutes over medium heat.

Uncover the pan, lower the heat and stir in the cream.  Stir in the basil and penne and combine well with the sauce. Stir in the cheeses. Sprinkle the top with the extra grated pecorino.

Cover the dish and bake for 35-40 minutes.Serve hot.

Tip: An alternate to using fresh cherry tomatoes is canned pomodorini (cherry tomatoes) such as Famoso, available in Italian grocery stores.

Featured on show 1902- Fantastic Pasta Casseroles.

This recipe is from CiaoItalia Slow and Easy by Mary Ann Esposito, published by St. Martin's Press in 2007.

item recipe is featured in Episode 1902 of Season 19.

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This collection epitomizes the tradition and love that goes into all of Mary Ann Esposito's cooking. Like her award-winning TV series, this book will live on for years with all of those who cook her delicious recipes. My kids love everything Mary Ann cooks!"


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  1. Barbara Buonincontro's avatar

    Barbara Buonincontro

    | Permalink
    I really liked Whole Wheat Penne with Meat Sauce recipe, but when I went to print it off the website, I found that it is missing some ingredients from the show (two kinds of cheeses). I would love to prepare this, but I don't know how much of the cheeses to use. If you could please fix this error, I would really appreciate it!
  2. carrollyne's avatar


    | Permalink
    let me tell you just how much my family loved your recipe"whole wheat penne with meat sauce".
    the sauce was so rich I was astonished at the flavor thanks again for such a great dish. JUST LIKE GRANDMA USED TO MAKE, BARVO!!!!
  3. William's avatar


    | Permalink
    An excellent recipe. Just needs some good red vino to make it perfect.
  4. Sylvia McBride's avatar

    Sylvia McBride

    | Permalink
    I read your Whole Wheat Penne with Meat Sauce recipe with interest. However, I am limited on my cheese intake due to high cholesterol. If I cut the cheeses in half each, and the cream in half to 1/4, would the recipe still come out okay and taste as well? Or perhaps I should cut only the cheeses amounts in half retain the cream amount as it is. Please advise. Maybe I need to abandon Italian and take up Scandinavian!

    Thanks much.


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