10 Penne Pasta Recipes You'll Want On Repeat

There are countless types of pasta in all shapes, such as campanelle, farfalle, and spaghetti. And while they're all delicious, there's something that stands out about classic penne. Perhaps it's the cylindrical shape that holds up to hearty sauces, the ridges that allow flavorful ingredients to cling onto its surfaces, or how it's a staple in dishes like penne alla vodka. All of these reasons make penne — which means "pen" or "quills" in Italian and refers to its shape — a staple in many household kitchens.

You might rely on penne for any type of pasta dish, use it for an elevated macaroni and cheese — or maybe you are a stickler for a classic penne creation. But there's always room for new recipes to add to your meal rotation. At Tasting Table, we've got many original penne pasta recipes from classic dishes to more unique spins. So, to make your meal planning easier, we've pulled 10 of them together here in one place. Before you get started, brush up on the biggest mistakes you might make with pasta so you can pull off a next-level penne meal.

Woodsy Warming Penne Boscaiola

The Italian word "boscaiola" translates to "lumberjack" or "woodsman" in English, and this dish definitely honors the flavors of the forest. It relies on a creamy tomato sauce with earthy porcini and wild mushrooms with a touch of meatiness from pancetta. This penne dish also has all of the ingredients you might crave in any pasta recipe, such as garlic, onion, oregano, and Parmesan as a garnish (of course). It might sound like a lot, but this dish only requires 30 minutes of prep work and 30 minutes of cooking time, so you can have it on the table in just one hour.

Recipe: Woodsy Warming Penne Boscaiola

Creamy Cajun Pasta

This creamy pasta is a one-pot meal that you must add to the week's dinner plans if you want an easy dish that's packed with Cajun flavor. It's the creation of Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, who says you can turn it into a complete meal with a green salad or garlic bread. The recipe uses chicken for the protein, but you can easily skip it or swap in another type of meat if poultry isn't your forte. Finish the dish off with a garnish of fresh parsley and grated Parmesan cheese.

Recipe: Creamy Cajun Pasta

Spicy Penne Arrabiata

Anyone who appreciates a spicy pasta will want to cook our spicy penne arrabbiata. The recipe uses a homemade sauce made of smashed garlic and red pepper flakes that'll make you forget about your favorite store-bought variety. You might think a homemade arrabbiata dish takes a load of ingredients and too much time, but you'll only need eight ingredients (including the penne) and it can be on the table in just 40 minutes. Cook it according to our recipe, add more red pepper flakes to kick up the heat a notch, or toss in some spicy Italian sausage for a peppery, meaty essence.

Recipe: Spicy Penne Arrabiata

Classic Penne Alla Vodka

We certainly cannot have a penne pasta roundup without a classic penne alla vodka dish — so here it is thanks to recipe developer Miriam Hahn. Compared to other versions of penne alla vodka, this dish features a heavy, satisfying sauce, according to Hahn. You'll need onion, garlic, a splash of vodka, tomatoes, cream, and red pepper flakes for the heat. If you're not a fan of vodka sauce that's incredibly pink and creamy, this recipe is for you. Perhaps best of all, five servings will be ready to eat in under 20 minutes.

Recipe: Classic Penne Alla Vodka

Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake

Pasta bakes are another great way to use penne, and this chicken spinach pasta bake certainly stands out for its creamy sauce. This baked pasta has chicken, bacon for a touch of umami, and spinach for your dose of greens. It's all pulled together with a sauce made of chicken stock, heavy cream, Parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. After the sauce is made, you'll pour all of the ingredients in a baking dish, top it with more Parmesan, and bake it for about 30 minutes. Serve it on its own or with your go-to green salad for freshness.

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake

Roasted Pumpkin Feta Pasta

This next recipe is one of our more unique uses of penne thanks to roasted pumpkin and feta cheese. It's certainly an ideal dinner for a chilly autumn evening, but it makes for a flavorful meal any time of year when you happen to find fresh pumpkin at the grocery store. Alternatively, you can use butternut squash if that's available. The tangy feta cheese and sweet pumpkin join sage leaves, fresh thyme, and ground nutmeg and are roasted first, then comes the penne. Roasted garlic adds a touch of umami — and don't forget the pasta water to thicken the sauce. Have it on the table in about 40 minutes.

Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Feta Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera

You won't miss the meat with this penne pasta recipe that highlights the flavors of an array of roasted veggies like earthy mushrooms, broccoli, asparagus, crunchy red pepper flakes, and grape tomatoes. Perhaps toss in a few other veggies in your fridge, too, before they go bad. It all comes together with a creamy sauce that features lemon zest, milk or cream, red pepper flakes for heat, and plenty of Parmesan cheese. Add a garnish of fresh basil for a touch of herby sweetness and serve it with crusty bread to soak up the tasty sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera

Baked Creamy Red Pepper Penne Pasta

Another baked pasta dish comes in the form of this baked creamy red pepper penne pasta developed by Miriam Hahn. You'll roast the red bell peppers first to bring out their sweet and smoky flavors, then blend them into a sauce with cream cheese for creamy tanginess. Combine this mixture with penne in a baking dish, cook it in an oven set at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20 minutes, and then add toasted breadcrumbs as a crunchy topping and fresh basil if you choose. It might sound like this dish will require a lot of time, but it's ready in an hour and 15 minutes — and it's worth the wait.

Recipe: Baked Creamy Red Pepper Penne Pasta

Easy Jerk Chicken Pasta

Recipe developer Kristen Carli of Camelback Nutrition and Wellness gives chicken penne an essence of Jamaican flair with jerk seasoning in this easy-to-make pasta dish. For this recipe, Carli makes her own jerk seasoning blend with spices including ground cumin, paprika, onion powder, dried thyme, and ground nutmeg. However, if you have jerk seasoning on hand, then you can use that to make life easier. You'll get protein from the chicken tenderloins and crunch from the charred bell peppers. This recipe makes six servings and only takes 30 minutes, making it an ideal meal to serve guests at a last-minute weeknight dinner party.

Recipe: Easy Jerk Chicken Pasta

Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli

The final recipe for your penne indulgence is originally made with mostaccioli, which is a type of penne that is larger and smooth on the outside. However, this recipe created by Michelle McGlinn turns out just as delicious with standard penne, too. A combination of hot Italian sausage and ground beef makes the dish fulfilling while mozzarella and Parmesan give it a bubbly, cheesy pull. You'll bake it in the oven so the flavors meld together, but for just 20 minutes. Serve the pasta on its own or pair it with a fresh salad and garlic bread.

Recipe: Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli