Take-out Tueday, Summer Surprise Pasta

Today is HH’s birthday! Happy Birthday honey!  Poor thing, he was so tired on Sunday-from playing with his new birthday present- he didn’t want to grill dinner so I whipped up this pasta bake…and I do mean whipped up, it was in the oven in 15 minutes~

creamy pasta bake thepaintedapron.com

I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite foodie blogs, Half Baked Harvest~


here is what intrigued me about this recipe, besides the copious amounts of gooey cheese, she used a little enchilada sauce...say what?

Hmmm, now I love enchilada sauce, and I love pesto sauce, and I love marinara sauce, so this had to be a winner for me!


I used a lot less cheese, omitted the cream, and added zucchini…you know to keep things healthy πŸ˜‰


You can use any shape pasta you like, but I think long thin noodles are best in this recipe, they envelop the cheesy, cream sauce and each bite is a perfect combination of all the flavors

The secret to success here is to melt the pesto and cream cheese into the pasta before adding the enchilada and tomato sauces


You would never guess the enchilada sauce was in there…it just adds a little mystery, and makes the flavor not the expected tomato sauce, but a wonderful new flavor…


Winner Winner Pasta Dinner!


Top all this creamy lusciousness with lots of shaved Parmesan


Pop it into the oven for 15-20 minutes and let it get happy and golden

summer surprise pasta thepaintedapron.com

Serve it up!


You can add some Italian sausage if you like, but this meatless version was full of comfort, yet amazingly light

pesto pasta with tomato and zucchini thepaintedapron.com

When you need dinner in a hurry, try this creamy tomato basil pasta~

Summer Surprise Pasta

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4


  • 3-4 oz thin spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup pesto sauce
  • 2 oz. softened cream cheese
  • 2 oz. Havarti or Fontina cheese sliced and torn into pieces
  • 1/4 cup enchilada sauce
  • 1 cup Tomato Basil Pasta Sauce
  • 1 large zucchini sliced and cut into half rounds
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 oz. shaved fresh Parmesan
  • salt and pepper


  • Saute zucchini in olive oil over medium high heat until browned and soft, about 5 minutes.
  • Cook pasta in boiling salted water until just done. Drain well and return to hot pot.
  • Turn burner down to lowest setting. Stir in pesto, then cream cheese, letting them melt evenly over pasta. Add Havarti or Fontina and stir.
  • Add enchilada sauce and tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Stir for a minute to coat pasta.
  • Turn pasta into greased casserole dish and top with sauteed zucchini. Cover with Parmesan.
  • Bake at 350 for 15 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
Keyword baked pasta casserole, Summer pasta, zucchini tettrazini

to see Half Baked Harvest’s Creamy Tomato Pasta Bake click here

summer surprise pasta thepaintedapron.com



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14 Responses to “Take-out Tueday, Summer Surprise Pasta”
  1. We haven’t had pasta in quite awhile. This looks wonderful, Jenna!

  2. Happier Than A Pig In Mud says:

    Sure sounds good! And we’re just coming into zucchini season here:@)

  3. Liz Mackie says:

    Nice recipe. Thank you.Β 

  4. Kim says:

    Happy Birthday to HH! I’m sure you BOTH are tired after your whirlwind weekend. πŸ™‚ The pasta dish looks amazing…and comforting…and healthy, a bonus. Y’all get some rest now, you hear?

  5. Madonna says:

    Zucchini has become very popular at our house. Looks like another way to incorporate it into our dinners.


  6. Mary says:

    Winner winner pasta dinner indeed Jenna! Love the combination of pesto and cream cheese too and adding the Italian sausage would make my hubby very happy πŸ™‚

  7. fairhopesupplyco says:

    I would have never thought to combine pesto with enchilada sauce . . . but hey, I’m game!

  8. Tanya says:

    I love pasta… and if it’s so easy to prepare… nothing’s better than it πŸ˜€


  9. Emily says:

    Hi Jenna, this dish looks and sounds delicious! Perfect for a quick and summery meal!
    Have a Happy Fourth of July! Are you at the beach to celebrate?

  10. CoziNest says:

    Hello there friend, we had pasta tonight, too. This recipe looks absolutely delightful and I will have to try it soon. Love all of your photos!

  11. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Jenna,
    What a great surprise, I can’t wait to try this pasta dish, the flavor will just be awesome! Hope you have had a great weekend and thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday!
    Come Back Soon,
    Miz Helen

  12. Nici says:

    This sounds fabulous! I would have been skeptical about the enchilada sauce, but I can totally see how that little bit would add just the right amount of flavor! Thanks a bunch for sharing this at my Creative Ways Link Party! Hope to see you again tonight!

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