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Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti in red crocks

Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti

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This Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti is a perennial favorite at our house! Family-friendly and an easy, delicious entree!

The tasty pasta recipe is mixed with gooey cheese, tomatoes, black olives plus basil and red pepper flakes for an out of the ordinary meatless entree.

Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti in red crocks

Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti

I recall the first time I made this Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti almost two decades ago. Bill came home from work, inquiring about dinner as is his routine. When I shared the name of this pasta dish, he grew quiet before asking, “Are you serving me fish???” His culinary vocabulary grew by two new words that day. Penne is a tubular type of pasta. Havarti is a creamy Danish cheese. Neither are fish. Lesson completed.

Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti in white casserole dish

Perfect for Pasta Lovers

Kraft Deluxe or even this Copycat Panera Mac and Cheese are the sorts of pasta dishes Katie adores. But this spicy penne quickly became a family favorite, especially with the pasta loving daughter. She often requests this “spicy macaroni” for her birthday dinner…and it makes the rounds every Lent when we need a meatless meal. 

Overhead view of Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti in red crocks

More Meatless Meals:


Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti

Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti

A gooey, upscale mac and cheese with penne pasta and havarti cheese!

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Yield 6 servings


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Large onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 28-ounce cans whole tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 10 ounces Havarti cheese, shredded
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • Fresh basil, chopped, for garnish (optional)


  1. Heat olive oil in a large pot. Saute onion and garlic till onion is translucent. Add tomatoes, basil, crushed red pepper flakes, and salt. Stir well. Add broth and bring to a simmer. Cook till liquid is reduced. Check for seasonings and add more pepper flakes and salt if needed.
  2. Cook pasta in well-salted water according to package instructions. Drain well and mix into tomato sauce. Add Havarti and toss till well combined. Pour into a large, greased baking dish. Sprinkle with Parmesan, then olives. Bake at 350º for about 20 minutes, till hot and bubbly. Sprinkle with basil if desired.


!Adapted from American Favorites by Betty Rosbottom

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 494 Total Fat: 27g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 13g Cholesterol: 52mg Sodium: 1019mg Carbohydrates: 45g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 7g Sugar: 12g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 21g




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41 comments on “Spicy Penne with Tomatoes and Havarti”

  1. Giggle, giggle. Bill is a cutie pie!

    Havarti cheese is married to so many wonderful childhood memories. And continues to be a favorite treat….Your penne looks and sounds like a dish I’d sink my teeth into in any season =)

  2. I love pasta dishes and Havarti would be a new food for me to try:@)

  3. Amazing photos as always my friend! I really like the idea of serving this pasta dish in the individual casserole dishes! So cute!

  4. What a perfect meal! This is one to make for sure! I love vegetarian pasta dishes!!

  5. Love spicy dishes, especially if it involves pasta! Yum!! 🙂

  6. I have never thought of adding Havarti to a pasta dish. I bet it adds a nice creaminess!

  7. It’s so funny what we foodies take for granted that other people know!

  8. Liz!! love this penne pasta! This dish sounds fabulous and I can’t wait to try it. . and I love those cute little Le Creuset casserole dishes!!! WANT!

  9. Bill is a funny guy! I can see why this pasta is a family favorite! Havarti is one of those cheese I always snack on but never put in a dish. Clearly I need to change that.

  10. Hehehe. OK, harvarti totally DOES sound like a type of fish. But unlike fish, it is so ridiculously creamy and melty! Love your baby Le Creusets. I have them in purple and they make me so happy 🙂

  11. Liz, penne is actually my favorite pasta shape and I’d love to prepare it more if it weren’t for my spaghetti-noodle-only Bill. Geesh! Love the spicy bite to this too. Havarti is always such a great creamy addition! Hope Bill is recovering nicely!

  12. Looks gorgeous! And I love your cookware!

  13. Oh yum! This looks mouthwatering! Looks like I just found a great dish for this friday…thanks, Liz!

  14. That is so cute about Bill, at least he loves this dish 🙂 I love a good spicy pasta and the havarti and black olives sounds fantastic in here! This looks super tasty especially in the petite casserole bowls:)

  15. That’s funny about the “lesson” 🙂 My dad would be happy to learn that lesson if it meant eating this dish!

  16. I love the addition of black olives! This looks yummy, yummy!

  17. I have a Hubby who’s no fish lover too, but he does have a great culinary vocabulary, in fact, he’s usually the one in the kitchen making dinner! This dish sounds delicious, and with a little less spice, could certainly find a regular place on my family’s menu! HUGS

  18. Ah I love Havarti. It is the cheese we use on our sandwiches. Why have I not thought of using it with a pasta? Thank you for the inspiration!

  19. What a comforting pasta dish! I use havati for sandwich sometimes but haven’t used over pasta. Looks so yummy~~~!

  20. Havarti goes great in a spicy dish, Liz! Perfect meatless meal!

  21. Lizzy,
    Pasta is always welcome in my house and Havarti is delicious too. Great dish for Lent. I hadn’t gone for ashes on Ash Wednesday in forever but this year I went with a coworker. No lightening bolts…I was surprised.

  22. I make a similar dish, but I don’t use havarti. I use to eat havarti all of the time, but haven’t had it in quite a while. I need to pick some up so I can make this dish!! Thanks for sharing this Liz!

  23. I love havarti cheese! I would love these – and I actually have the exact same red little baking dishes. They’re so great!! Pinning this to make soon 🙂

  24. Can not not like this dish…simple, delicious and…Italian! 🙂 ela

  25. That story cracked me up, Liz! We’ve had a few like that in my house as well. 🙂 Your spicy penne looks delicious! I can see why it’s a family favorite.

  26. Yummy! Love the red cast iron pots too!

  27. I haven’t had havarti in so long! Now I’m craving!

  28. Bill must be learning things everyday. I love penne pasta and this sauce looks fantastic. I love how it has olives in it xx

  29. Gorgeous colour and flavour, Liz. This is my kind of pasta.

  30. Sounds exactly like a conversation I would have with my husband. I tried to explain cardamom to him one day and he just shook his head and said I was talking way over him. Too funny.

  31. Definitely what I imagine to be a delicious penne, awesome photos 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  32. My daughter is a big time pasta lover too and I cannot wait to try this lovely recipe for her!!Thankyou Liz 🙂

  33. I love spicy pasta dishes and this looks like it would easily become a new favorite!

  34. That is a funny story! I can definitely see the relation to Halibut and Havarti, and before I ventured into the world of fish and cheese could have asked the same question.

    Great styling as usual!

  35. Can I have one of those little crocks for lunch? Because that would really make my day. Looks delicious!

  36. I am all about spicy pasta! Loving this!

  37. Oh I miss havarti cheese, for some reason I can’t find it here in the UK.

  38. Definitely comfort food with a capital C for me. Everything you make is so visually appealing and this is no exception.

  39. Penne is my favorite pasta and I love Havarti. Match made in heaven!!!

  40. Liz, everything you make is so tempting. This is another winner!

  41. This looks great! I could see Morgan coming to the same conclusion–he’s always suspicious that I might sneak fish into his dinner!

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