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5 from 2 votes

Tomato Pasta Bake

A delicious tomato pasta bake (pasta al forno) made with a rich tomato sauce, giant penne pasta, a creamy, cheesy taleggio cheese sauce and topped with crunchy breadcrumbs before being baked to perfection.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 658kcal
Author: Emily Kemp


  • 14 oz (400g) giant penne pasta or regular
  • 1 clove garlic finely chopped
  • 1.7 lbs (4 cups/800g) passata rustic chunky pureed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp oregano dried
  • 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil plus a drizzle for topping
  • 1 cup (30g) homemade breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 tbsp parmesan freshly grated

Cheese Sauce

  • 1.7 oz (50g) butter
  • 1/3 cup (40g) plain flour
  • 1 2/3 cup (400ml) milk
  • 3.5 oz (100g) taleggio cheese cut into cubes
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Salt and pepper to season


  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F)
  • First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta. Undercook it by 3-4 minutes according to your packet instruction.
  • Meanwhile make the tomato sauce. Fry the chopped garlic with the basil, fennel seeds and dried oregano with 1/2 tbsp of olive oil until fragrant. Add the passata rustica (rustic pureed tomatoes), a good pinch of salt and pepper and let it simmer gently as the pasta cooks.
  • Next make the cheese sauce by making a roux with butter and flour in a seperate saucepan (see notes). Add the milk slowly whilst whisking until it starts to thicken. Add the taleggio cheese, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir until the cheese has melted and is thick. Turn the heat off and keep warm.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the tomato sauce and stir until coated well. Transfer it to a baking dish then top with the taleggio cheese sauce. Finally top with breadcrumbs, a tiny drizzle of olive oil and freshly grated parmesan.
  • Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the breadcrumbs are toasted and crispy.


Making a roux

  1. Add the butter to a saucepan on a medium heat. Once melted add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon to form a paste.
  2. Stir the paste for 1-2 minutes to cook out the floury taste (important for the taste of the sauce). Next start by add the milk a little at a time whilst whisking to avoid any lumps.

Top Tips For Making This Tomato Pasta Bake;

  • Under cook the pasta by around 3-4 minutes because it'll then be baked in the oven for 30 minutes to cook further.
  • If you don't have taleggio used a good melting cheese such as fontina, gruyere or a mature cheddar
  • Use homemade breadcrumbs for this bake, they're totally different from store bought and make a difference to the end result.
  • You can add different herbs and spices such as parsley and chili flakes.
Nutrition Facts
Tomato Pasta Bake
Amount Per Serving
Calories 658 Calories from Fat 153
% Daily Value*
Fat 17g26%
Saturated Fat 9g56%
Cholesterol 37mg12%
Sodium 616mg27%
Potassium 889mg25%
Carbohydrates 103g34%
Fiber 6g25%
Sugar 13g14%
Protein 22g44%
Vitamin A 1310IU26%
Vitamin C 13.8mg17%
Calcium 288mg29%
Iron 5.8mg32%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.


Calories: 658kcal | Carbohydrates: 103g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 37mg | Sodium: 616mg | Potassium: 889mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 1310IU | Vitamin C: 13.8mg | Calcium: 288mg | Iron: 5.8mg