If you love pizza, then you probably love pasta, too. Why not enjoy both at the same time? This penne pizza is the ultimate comfort food meal, topped with al dente pasta, red sauce, mozzarella, parmesan, and garlic-chile oil.
The steps for making this carb-loaded beauty are pretty simple. First, boil some penne pasta in salted water until just al dente. Immediately drain the pasta in a colander, rinse it with cold water (this prevents the pasta from getting mushy), and pat it dry with paper towels.
Once the cooked pasta seems pretty much dry, transfer it to a large bowl and toss it with marinara sauce.
Next, stretch or roll out your pizza dough, top it with a layer of pesto, then the sauced pasta, cubed mozzarella, and a sprinkling of finely shredded parmesan cheese. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of pepper, and your penne pizza is ready for the oven!
Bake the pizza until the crust is golden and the cheese and penne are browned in spots. Then, transfer it to a cutting board, sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley, and season with salt and pepper. And, finally, take your masterpiece (masterpizza?) to the next delicious level with a generous drizzle of garlic-chile oil.
That last part is important. If you don't have garlic-chile oil, you can make your own:
How to Make Garlic-Chile Oil
- Pour ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil into a small saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat.
- When the oil is hot (it will start to shimmer, and you'll be able to swish it around almost like water), remove it from the heat and add a pinch or two of dried chile flakes and 1 smashed garlic clove.
- Cover the pan and let the oil sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then strain the oil through a fine-mesh sieve into a measuring cup or ramekin.
Looking for more comfort food pizzas?
- Truffled Mac and Cheese Pizza
- Grandma Pizza with Sausage and Veggies
- Boozy French Onion Pizza
- Tomato Soup and Grilled Cheese Pizzas
- Khachapuri with Herbs
Penne Pizza with Marinara, Fresh Mozzarella, and Parmesan Cheese
- Large pot
- Cutting board and knife
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 6 ounces penne pasta
- ⅔ to ¾ cup Super-Easy Marinara Sauce (or your favorite store-bought marinara)
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 3 tablespoons prepared pesto
- 4 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ cup finely shredded parmesan
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
- chile-and-garlic-infused olive oil, (such as Cardenas), for finishing (or make your own; see instructions in the post above)
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating). Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes. Then, if you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil, and cook the pasta to al dente according to the package directions (about 5 minutes). As soon as the pasta reaches al dente texture, drain it in a colander and rinse it under cold running water. Spread the pasta on a clean dish towel or a layer of paper towels and pat it dry.
- Transfer the pasta to a medium bowl, add the sauce, and toss well to coat the pasta.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to a baking sheet / pizza pan or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Spoon the pesto onto the dough, and use a pastry brush to spread it all the way to the edges of the dough. Spread the pasta on top in an even layer, then scatter on the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese and pasta have browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Drizzle it generously with garlic-and-chile-infused olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and the chopped fresh parsley. Slice and serve.