This baked pasta recipe is a family favorite and a quick weeknight meal. Make your own sauce or use a store-bought variety to get dinner on the table even faster.
I love an easy meal that I can throw together without too much work. Some days are just busy. Since we mostly eat meals from scratch, the idea of a frozen family meal isn’t too appealing. This baked pasta recipe is one of our favorites. It is easy to whip up from scratch in a short time. You can also make it ahead and refrigerate until you’re ready to bake. If you’re short on time, you can also use a jarred sauce to cut down on the prep time. And there are lots of variations that I’ll share after the recipe.
Baked pasta recipe
- 1 package (12-16 oz.) pasta, any shape
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 recipe red sauce (or substitute 1 jar of store-bought sauce)
- 8 oz. mozzarella cheese, shredded
Step 1: Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the package, drain, and set aside.
Step 2: Brown the ground beef in a skillet and drain off any excess grease.
Step 3: Add the red sauce to the beef and stir to heat through. If you haven’t pre-made the sauce, you can cook the ingredients with the beef using this method:
After browning the beef and draining it, add the crunchy vegetables and saute for a few minutes. Add the rest of your ingredients and simmer until hot. My red sauce recipe, above, is really flexible and you can leave out just about anything and it will turn out fine.
Step 4: In a 13×9 casserole dish, add the pasta. Spoon the meat sauce mixture on top. Gently mix the sauce and pasta. I really just poke mine with a spoon. Add more sauce as needed to cover the pasta. (Any uncovered pasta poking out will dry out and be crunchy after baking.)
Top the mixture with shredded mozzarella cheese.
Step 5: Bake uncovered in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-30 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the sauce is bubbly.
Serves 4-6 people. Enjoy!
Baked pasta variations
- Use chicken instead of beef
- Use white sauce (with chicken) instead of red
- Use tuna for a tuna alfredo style baked pasta
- Include more veggies and leave out the meal altogether
- Use a blend of cheeses
- Double the recipe and freeze one for later before baking
You could probably also mess around with ingredients and come up with an Indian, Tex-Mex, or other flavored dish. What combinations does your family like?
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