Penne Pesto Swirl Casserole

Carolyn Haas


Using approved items from a current contest, I came up with this Italian influenced casserole (hot dish). I intended to add the spinach to the meat and vegetable mixture, but forgot. *So when I served it I put a handful of spinach on the bottom of each person's plate and put the hot casserole on top. That was enough heat to wilt the spinach and worked just fine!! So suit yourself!


★★★★★ 1 vote

20 Min
35 Min


  • 1 c
    penne pasta (mini or regular)
  • 1/2 lb
    ground turkey
  • 3/4 tsp
    fennel seeds, slightly crushed
  • 1 1/2 tsp
    italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp
    garlic powder (if using fresh, use more!)
  • 1/8 tsp
    black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp
    kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 c
    red bell pepper, fresh or jarred, chopped fine
  • 1/2 c
    onion, chopped fine
  • 28 oz
    diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 1 tsp
  • 1/2 c
    sliced portabella/ baby bella mushrooms
  • 3 oz
    prepared pesto
  • 1/2 c
    shredded mozzarella, parmesan or your favorite cheese
  • 4 oz
    spinach (or spinach/arugula mix) *

How to Make Penne Pesto Swirl Casserole


  1. Cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain
  2. Blend seasoning into ground turkey evenly and lightly. Heat oil in pan. When hot, add seasoned turkey and cook until no pink remains. Add onion, red pepper, mushrooms and spinach. Continue to cook until onion is slightly translucent and spinach has started to wilt.
  3. Put tomatoes with juice and sugar in a blender, and pulse until it's a somewhat smoother consistancy. Stir about 3/4 of the tomato blend into the meat and veggies. Turn off heat.
  4. Place enough remaining tomatoes to cover bottom of 9x9 inch glass pan. Spread pasta in pan. Cover with meat/veggie mixture. Dot tablespoonfuls of tomatoes on top, then dot pesto in between the tomatoes. Using a knife, swirl the pesto and tomatoes together.
  5. Bake at 350ºF for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top and put pan back in oven until cheese has melted.

Printable Recipe Card

About Penne Pesto Swirl Casserole

Course/Dish: Casseroles
Main Ingredient: Turkey
Regional Style: Italian
Hashtag: #hot dish

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