This pasta dish was my last supper.

I went out with a bang, three types of cheeses and somewhere around 3 pounds of vegetables.

(What a way to go.)


And what I mean to say is that this was my last supper before the moratorium on exercise was put into action by my orthopedist.

He wants me to not move for two months.

Seeing as how I haven’t taken off more than two days in a row for the past four years…I don’t even know how to begin to do that.

I am a mover by nature.

But somehow, I have to try.


Here’s the other thing.

I absolutely up and down refuse to gain weight in the next eight weeks.

Those extra pounds may come knocking at my door and I will politely but firmly say “No, thank you.”  While politely but firmly slamming the door in their face.

You see, after my last stress fracture I was sad and so I spent the nine months after I was injured eating anything and everything to make myself feel better.  And the year after that trying to regain some kind of equilibrium.  I’m not there yet.

But maybe I can be now that I know that I can’t compensate for jars of peanut butter or bowls of ice cream by going for a run or to an extra class at the gym.  Maybe this is the impetus that I needed to

Want to dare me to not only not gain weight but to perhaps even lose weight during this next eight weeks?  Want to triple doggie dare me?


Huddle up, team.  Here’s the game plan.

Super clean eating for the next two months.

Will there be sacrifices?  Yes.  Will I have to say no when sometimes I really really want to say yes?  Yes.

But, you know. It’s only for eight weeks.  It’s not for life.  And the reality is…I think that with exercise, you really can eat whatever you want (in moderation).  But without it…you really have to be critical of what you put into your body if you don’t want to gain weight.  (At least, that’s the case for me and my metabolism.)

Dear baked penne with roasted vegetables.  You were lovely and cheesy and absolutely delicious in so many ways.  And the best swan song a girl could ask for.

(Although…I may or may not already be planning my comeback.  52 days or bust!)


Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables
Serves 6, adapted from Giada de Laurentis


  • 2 red bell peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
  • 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced thinly
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, divided
  • 1 tbsp herbs de Provence
  • 1 lb penne
  • 3 cups good marinara sauce
  • 1 cup grated fontina cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated smoked mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan plus more for topping


  1. Preheat the oven to 450.
  2. On a baking sheet, toss the peppers, zucchini, summer squash, and onions with olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and herbs de Provence. Roast until tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta for about 6 minutes.  They should still be hard!  Drain.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the drained pasta with the roasted veggies, marinara sauce, fontina, smoked mozzarella, 1/4 cup grated parmesan, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp black pepper.  Gently mix until the pasta is coated with sauce and the ingredients are combined.
  5. Pour the pasta into a 9×13-inch pan.  Top with some extra parmesan.  Bake until the top is golden and the cheese melts.

I am submitting this to Meatless Mondays hosted by Chaya of My Sweet and Savory and to Presto Pasta Nights hosted by From Kirsten’s Kitchen to Yours.


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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102 Responses to Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables

  1. I am completely supportive of your goal to stay healthy while you are on the exercise break! This is when portion control will be your BFF:-) Now, just teach me….

  2. Clean eating is an awesome way to go, and after your moratorium is up, you come out to the country and we’ll celebrate. If not before.

  3. Love that you roasted the veggies before adding them to the pasta. roasted veggies has to be my favorite way to eat healthy! This looks great!

  4. Taylor says:

    I could use a lesson in clean eating…now that I’m done with marathon training I need to stop my nightly cookie habit and handfuls out of my boyfriends chip bags. Sorry to hear about the doctor’s orders…hopefully you will heal fast!!

  5. Danielle says:

    I saw this recipe in Giadas cookbook and forgot about it – looks fabulous!

  6. girlichef says:

    That’s as good a way to go out as any! You just take care of yourself and listen to your body…don’t deprive it. Hopefully the eight weeks will fly by! I have a serious craving for a big carby, veggie-laden, cheese-smothered plate of this right now.

  7. I admire your healthy attitude, Joanne. You are such a fighter! A very inspirational one at that. 🙂

  8. Joanne says:

    I get the feeling these weeks won’t be easy for you, but still, I’m sure you’ll take away something food related from it all to share with us! Hope you’re feeling better soon, and the time passes quickly …

  9. Jeanette says:

    We will all be at your side the next 8 weeks, it won’t be easy, but you can do it!

  10. What a way to go, looks fantastic! Good luck, wishing you a full recovery so you can get back to eating and running. Maybe not at the same time.

  11. Amy says:

    2 months of no exercise…to occur over Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. That is cruel and unusual punishment. I would have eaten an entire pie or cheesecake as my swan song. You’re going to be just fine 😉

  12. All the best for your weight loss goal! i need to work on my health as well after my baby comes out…until then im trying this recipe for lunch with extra cheese.

  13. Great last supper. Sorry to hear about the two-month forced rest. I can relate, esp since I am so injury prone. Good luck with everything and I’m looking forward to the clean eating recipes!

  14. MM says:

    Looks like a great last supper. Hope these next 8 weeks go quickly.

  15. sally says:

    So sorry to hear that you are not allowed to move for the next several weeks! This looks like a great last supper and I am looking forward to your “clean” recipes.

  16. Can’t wait to see your recipes for clean eating coming up!! Wouldn’t that be awesome to lose weight over the next 8 weeks? You can do it!!

  17. Lyndsey says:

    Don’t you just love the added flavor that roasting the vegetables give? Good luck and am interested to see what you come up with for your 52 days or bust! 🙂

  18. Deborah says:

    What a perfect last dish! It’s hard for me to find time for exercise with the 2 kiddos and a husband with a crazy work schedule, so I have to be pretty careful with what I put into my mouth. And being in my 30s doesn’t help, either… But you are such a healthy eater, anyway – I’m sure it’s going to be easy for you!

  19. bellini says:

    This is just the comfort food we all need Joanne!

  20. Gloria says:

    I love these plates you make Joanne are soooo delicious!! gloria

  21. And what was for dessert? A jar of that cookie spread? BTW one interesting tip I read that was using molasses as sweetener helps reduce weight!

  22. great attitude !! I cannot wait to read all your new recipes these upcoming weeks,

  23. I love roasted vegetables especially red bell peppers. This is also the only way my picky hubby eats red bell peppers. lol! I must give it a try soon as I’m sure my family would love it very much. Thanks for sharing!

  24. What a way to go out with a bang Joanne! Sorry about your no exercise break. I know that will make you crazy. I trust you can make clean eating look like it was meant for a Queen! 🙂 Take care.

  25. Big Dude says:

    I can imagine being laid up for 2 months will be hard for such an active person, but as such a healthy eater, I’m sure you’ll get through it at the same weight. This looks like a fanstastic meal to go out with – you can mail me the leftovers.

  26. Kristin says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Kristin says:

    Okay there is some serious YUM going on here. I love the colors, it’s like fall just exploded on your plate.
    Holy Cannoli Recipes

  28. Alisa says:

    Roasted veggies are everywhere on blogs right now, and I still can’t get enoughe! I love this idea and need to see what I can do about keeping it rich and making it dairy-free.

  29. Claudie says:

    I’m sad for what happened, but really happy you are taking it this way. I see there’s a lot of motivation in you and that you’ll make the best out of the situation 🙂

  30. Nicole, RD says:

    You were only getting in your PROTEIN!

    I support your efforts 100%, until we’re in San Fran eating our way through FoodBuzz, okay? I need partners in crime for a splurge fest!

  31. Patsyk says:

    You have the right attitude for the coming 8 weeks! I know you’ll get through it and probably have tons of energy for when you can get back to your normal exercise routine!

  32. Tasha says:

    You can totally do this Joanne. You have a great outlook. Hopefully the 8 weeks of being inactive will speed by for you. As for your choice in meal to go out with, perfect.

  33. Jenna says:

    I’m so sorry about your unwelcome Dr’s orders. Your swan song of a pasta dish looks divine–it won’t be long before you can have it again!

  34. Shannon says:

    i don’t see why this couldn’t be considered clean eating! maybe swap in some whole wheat penne, and you’ve only got a little over 1/4c shredded cheese (~1oz) per serving… so it would pass in my book 🙂 especially since i can’t get enough roasted veggies!!!

  35. Whoa…gorgeous gorgeous such dishes which are so visually appealing..I hope you well very well soon..hugs!

  36. It looks delicious. Good luck with your challenge. It is very hard to maintain weight when exercise is not an option, unless we watch the food intake. I think you can do it girl!

  37. Take care of that foot Joanne and keep eating creative healthy dishes like this and you’ll be fine and just as thin as before. You’ve motivated me!

  38. Megan says:

    What a way to go! Good luck with the next 8 weeks. I am very bad at saying no when it comes to food, so I understand the struggle this would be. But I agree with Shannon, that this dish could be considered clean eating with a few small tweaks!

  39. Sarah says:

    sorry about the exercise break. 🙁 i’m looking forward to seeing what new recipes you come up with!

  40. Nisrine M. says:

    You got me with the roasted veggies. They must make this pasta amazing.

  41. Juliana says:

    Joanne, this baked pasta looks delicious, I love the idea of the cheeses in it with all the veggies, super tasty!
    Hope you have a great week ahead :-_)

  42. Julie says:

    Good luck with not moving for 8 weeks! This was quite a meal to go out on a high note with. Roasted veggies make everything wonderful 🙂

  43. Anonymous says:

    I’ve had a stress fracture myself, how frustrating! Especially before a race! If you have time for mental/emotional nourishing, I totally recommend to read “Born to Run”. It will inspire you to make it through!

  44. That Girl says:

    When you gotta go…..I’m on an exercise break too. We can keep each other strong. Wanna go for a virtual walk today?

  45. kankana says:

    That’s mu kinda meal. Tons of veggie .. some pasta nd lots of cheese! Hope you start feeling better soon .. take care girl!

  46. Candace says:

    I hope the healing come easily for you and much more quickly than expected. I am looking forward to the clean eating recipes that you are going will be sharing. I started back to work today after almost a year of eating everything I wanted and not exercising at all….so I need them. 🙂

  47. Gopika Ram says:

    I love penne. These look so yummy. I love this 🙂

  48. OohLookBel says:

    I really must eat more vegetables, and this is a brilliant way to do it. Won’t even need to pretend that it’s macaroni bolognese!

  49. Man, Oh Man, I would LOVE for a doctor to order me not to move!! I am a dedicated exercise hater. But you not moving . . . inconceivable!


  50. see now this is exactly how penne should be eaten: with lots of stuff in it.
    I can’t tell how much I hate plain old penne with nada in it. I mean HELLO, what’s the point of eating allllllll that pasta, alllll those calories if there is nothing with it?
    You feeling me? lol

  51. and yeah, good luck woman with NOT moving. it is SO NOT working for me.

  52. Beautiful !!!!
    Roasted vegetables adds so much depth and flavors…
    Love it.

  53. Julie says:

    So sorry to hear about your stress fracture! I can’t even imagine how you must feel. We’re all here for you, even if only virtually!! Looking forward more healthy meals!!

  54. Staying healthy without exercise is absolutely doable, tough yes, but I KNOW if anyone can give this injury the middle finger by coming out of it stronger and healthier it is you!

    I will be making this and then going in to a food coma/sleep for about 8 weeks so I’ll see you on the other side my friend.

  55. elly says:

    I’ve made a similar version of this before and absolutely loved it. I hope your 2 months somehow manages to go quickly for you.

  56. Cara says:

    You know I’m here for you in the Clean Eating department! (don’t be fooled – I cheat – but I think I’d have to re-evaluate if I was injured too.) Maybe I should just pretend I’m injured and join you on this journey, it’s not like I couldn’t stand to clean things up myself!

  57. brocstar says:

    Good luck- one day at a time! I also gained some lb’s after my sfx… depression over not being able to move+ not being able to move= lb’s.
    Just keep thinking about how delicious steamed broccoli is!

  58. Lori says:

    Not a bad choice for a last meal. Sorry to hear about the no exercise verdict. I have no idea how people who don’t exercise, don’t gain wait. The second I have to stop for an injury, etc., here it comes, even if I try to control my eating. Hang in there and can’t wait to see the recipes!

  59. Kelly says:

    I like a woman with resolve. you sound like a gal with great energy and zest so i’m betting that you can pretty much do whatever you set your mind to. you go girl! This pasta – complete with roasted veggies – looks positively delish d’ahling.

  60. Jessica says:

    This looks so perfect and so full of veggies! It’s exactly what I need right now.

  61. wow Loaded with vegetables and flavours!

  62. If anyone can do it, you can girl! And you will do it with style 🙂

  63. Barbara says:

    Hang in there, Joanne! Day after day of healthy lo-cal eating is not the greatest fun for foodies, but you can do it. I have no doubt that we’re going to see lots of interesting dishes coming up. Besides, you can allow yourself treats on certain days…that’s what I do.
    Giada can be depended upon to come up with a cheesy gooey pasta dish every time. (and she stays skinny!)

  64. debbie says:

    It’s hard to not excersize when you do it daily. I know, I’ve been there. This dish looks delicious Joanne. Like you said it’s only for 8 weeks…you CAN do it!!!

  65. Elizabeth says:

    You can do it!! I completely have faith in you.

  66. You poor thing! I’m like you–I never stop moving! Even with my tendonitis, I was always in the pool! You can do this. Just stay positive!

  67. You can do it!!!! I can’t wait to see all your clean eating recipes. I am sure they will be amazingly delicious, as always! Keep that positive attitude, and 8 weeks will go by in no time at all. You will be stronger and healthier than ever!

  68. Von says:

    My doctor told me I should be moving too much either!! haha…..But I haven’t exactly been following the doctor’s orders :S I’m a mover too 😀 Good luck keeping trying not to put on weight! We’ll all be supporting you 😉 This looks delicious by the way- I love anything baked with cheese!!

  69. Loving all your veggie-packed dishes these days! It’s always good to find a healthy filler for carby dishes!

  70. Mary says:

    You can do this, Joanne! Hopefully your Christmas present to yourself will be a fabulously long run. This pasta looks fabulous. I love all of those veggies!

  71. Wow, that looks so appetizing, delicious and healthy !!!

  72. The smoked mozza and fontina are great ideas for a mix in this pasta. Balancing out all that goodness with tons of veggies makes it easy to have a couple of helpings!

  73. Chaya says:

    My timing is great. I am on my way to the store and one of the items to buy is veggies for roasting. This recipe is great and I can expand on what I was thinking about. Thanks Joanne.

  74. Maria says:

    Perfect veggie recipe to share with my other half! I made a similar pasta dish last night, but will have to try your recipe next time 🙂 Thanks Joanne!

  75. Lora says:

    Good for you! But what a lovely last supper.

  76. With me, eating healthy is necessary not because I can’t exercise but because of the sluggish metabolism woman my age have to deal with. Call this a rehersal for when you’re over 50 🙂

    As long as you take care of yourself and heal – that’s the main thing.

    What a way to go!

  77. Julie says:

    i stopped eating pasta somewhere along the lines of weight loss, yet never crave it UNTIL I GET TO YOUR BLOG DAMMIT!

  78. Delicious dish. Of course I support you in your endeavours… but if you change your mind – Harry is single and living with me. Come on up and I’ll make a place for you on the couch and fatten you up nicely. 😉 We can all play wii together!

  79. I am not allowed to make this dish, because I would eat the whole pan!

  80. Reeni says:

    Cheese is my friend…but so are roasted veggies! It’s a balance – one I know you can find as you rest and heal your body. This is one incredible baked pasta! I loves it.

  81. DELICIOUS! I’m going to have to be mean and say NO carbs or sugar for you!!!! You can do this, 8 weeks will fly by! =D

  82. Joanne I think I’ve just died and gone to food heaven!!


  83. And you can do this! You are super woman after all.

  84. Carolyn Jung says:

    OMG, poor you. Not move for months? That would be really hard to deal with. So, you can’t even swim or do something that’s easier on your joints like that? Oh my! I hope the time passes quickly and that you heal perfectly. 😉

  85. I’m sorry to hear about this, darling. If you have happen to gain a pound or two, that’s just what’s going to happen. You can’t stress over that.

    Sending you warm thoughts!

  86. grace says:

    i can’t part ways with cheese. ever. you’re in a tough position, joanne, but you’ll prevail. nice farewell dish!

  87. Oh dear, I hope these two months will go fast. Best of luck and best wishes for a quick recovery. These pasta are amazing-looking and it is so conforting to know they are also packed with good, healthy ingredients!

  88. Eliana says:

    If you want to make this again before you can exercise, I will gladly come over and take this out of your hands 🙂 Looks so freakin delicious.

  89. Johanna GGG says:

    this looks so good – if you have to eat lighter, I am glad you had such a great cheese loaded and carb loaded meal beforehand. Sorry to hear about your lack of movement – hope you have lots of great reading to do (don’t read too many cookbooks or you will just get hungry and want to run around the kitchen)

  90. Karen says:

    How about I eat for you? I’ll start with a big bowl of this!

  91. Ruth Daniels says:

    Here’s hoping the next eight weeks fly by. Thanks for sharing this meal with Presto Pasta Nights. Am I to understand that there can be ZERO pasta? Bummer!

  92. Wow, I’m drooling! And I just started the phase 1 of the South Beach diet!

  93. Katelyn says:

    I’m so sorry about the stress fracture. I know all too well the dance between eating and exercise. The other day I actually told someone that works at my gym that I run so that I can eat chocolate chip cookies and the like. Hope you have a speedy recovery.

  94. Veronica says:

    Ouch, that is rough! But I DO triple dog dare you to lose weight during the eight weeks! It will give you something to focus on and take your mind of the immobility. Good luck!

  95. Oh, this looks so good. I would totally eat this. But I’ll have to file this for when the hubs is out of town because he’ll turn his nose up when he hears there is no meat in it. Means more for me!!

  96. Dana says:

    I don’t know if this is an age thing, but for me, weight gain and loss has very little to do with exercise and almost everything to do with what I eat. Granted, I’ve never been a marathon runner, but even when I was teaching 10 yoga classes a week and doing my own practice, if I ate too much I gained weight. So, just be careful, and everything will be fine. 🙂

  97. Chris says:

    Absolutely booooooooooooo! on the sedentary prescription, Joanne. Are you not even allowed to do water aerobics or something like that to help maintain? Don’t you just hate doctors? 😉

    This dish just looks stunning with the color of all the roasted veggies (and I’m not even a veggie kind of guy, you know this).

    Hang in there, J!

  98. Oooh I love roasted vegetables. This dish sounds fantastic!

  99. Ooo wow this pasta looks SO good!! I can’t wait for the next couple of months of your healthy posts though. 🙂

  100. Anonymous says:

    Would regular mozzarella work?

  101. Anonymous says:

    I have made this pasta many times, adapted for my family’s taste. Regular mozzarella works just fine, and I add frozen peas to it right before it goes into the oven…so yummy!

  102. Anonymous says:

    This was amaaaaaaazing. The mix of cheeses was fantastic and creamy. My boyfriend accidentally got acorn squash instead of summer squash, so I substituted for half of that, but the result was delicious. An addition of cremini mushrooms also added bites of flavor. So yummmm~

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