Well, baked pasta is far from anything new. This little version is my own yet very similar to many that are out there. It’s more of a reminder of how wonderful a baked pasta can be. There are a few steps involved so I wouldn’t call it the best weeknight meal. However, Meaty Baked Pasta is just what the family calls for on the weekend.
With this pasta casserole, you will find a meaty sauce that includes ground beef and Italian sausage, a light and creamy ricotta cheese layer that helps to balance the acid in the tomato sauce. More sauce hugged pasta with chunks of tomato that is broiled oozy with mozzarella and parmesan. It’s the kind of dish you know you should stop eating, but just can’t.
It serves many with even a few leftovers. If planning ahead, you may want to assemble in two casserole dishes, bake one and freeze the other for a later meal when time is not your friend.
Meaty Baked Pasta is homey, satisfying and best of all cheesy! It’s not diet friendly, so I won’t pretend that it is. Everything in moderation, right? Enjoy!
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Author: Compelled to Cook
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup diced white onion
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces lean ground beef
- 12 ounces Italian sausage, mild or spicy about 2 large links
- 32 ounces marinara sauce
- 398ml can diced tomatoes, including juice
- 1 tbsp dried Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes optional
- 14 ounces dried pasta I used penne rigate
- 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese divided
- 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese divided
- 1 tsp dried basil
- Heat olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until starting to soften, stirring often.
- Add ground beef and Italian sausage. Cook until browned and no longer pink, breaking apart any large chunks and stirring often. Dab out any excess fat with a paper towel.
- To the meat add marinara sauce, diced tomatoes, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and chili flakes.
- Bring to a simmer, reduce heat, cover and cook, stirring occasionally for 20- 25 minutes to meld flavours.
- While meat sauce is simmering, cook pasta according to package directions using well-salted water. (about 1 tbsp regular salt to 4 litres of water). Drain pasta and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350℉.
- In a small bowl stir together ricotta, half of the mozzarella, half of the parmesan, dried basil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
- Lightly spray a 9"x13" casserole dish with non stick spray. Add half the cooked pasta and half of the meat sauce to the casserole dish. Stir to combine. Spread with ricotta cheese mixture.
- To the pot with the remaining pasta add remaining meat sauce. Stir to combine and pour over ricotta cheese layer. Top with remaining half of mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
- Bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes until bubbly. Broil for 2-3 to blister the cheese. Remove and allow to rest 3-5 minutes prior to serving.