- Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease a 9-inch cast iron (or oven-safe) pan.
- Place uncooked penne noodles in the pan with marinara sauce and stir until fully combined. Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
- Lightly strain the liquid from the ricotta with a fine mesh strainer to avoid liquid pooling on top of the pasta bake. Remove from the oven, top with dollops of ricotta (no need to be spread), and sprinkle with desired amount of cheese. Replace lid, cracked open (or vent with foil) and cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until noodles are al dente. Test a few noodles in different locations. Cook time may vary.
- Once the noodles are al dente, turn your oven to broil and broil on the top rack until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned. 1 to 3 minutes. Keep a close eye so it doesn’t burn. Noodles continue to cook once removed from the oven. Let cool for just a few minutes then serve.
A 9-inch deep dish pie pan can also work or a 9×9 square baking pan.
If you aren’t making the marinara below make sure to use a thick marinara sauce, or your bake may become watery.
Simple Marinara Sauce:
- Place oil in a large pot over medium-low heat. Once hot add the garlic and stir for 2-3 minutes until just starting to brown. Add the tomatoes and stir.
- Add the tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, sucanat, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Stir to combine.
- Raise heat to medium and bring to a simmer. Simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, reducing heat if necessary and stirring occasionally. Taste at 30 minutes and adjust with more salt, pepper, or herbs if desired. Sauce should be thick. Blend with an immersion blender for a smoother consistency (optional).