Baked Penne Pasta is a casserole that will curb your cravings for Italian food any time of the week. With its layers of rich tomato meat sauce, pasta, and gooey creamy cheese you can‘t go wrong.
Because my family enjoys a good pasta dish I always include them in my meal plans. I have so many go-to recipes, but here are three of our favorites are One Pot Pizza Pasta, Penne with Cream Sauce, and Crock Pot Mac and Cheese.
Thank you for stopping by today. Please check out more delicious recipes, comment and let me know how your family liked this one!
Nothing’s better than a quick, tasty, and easy meal that’s also budget-friendly. This baked pasta dish is that and more! It’s so good it will become a repeat meal for your family as it has ours.
This is also a great make-and-take meal for community dinners. Even better, it’s a perfect casserole for gifting to families in need as it can feed a small family. It’s amazing how sharing a hot meal with others can be so comforting.
Here’s What you need to Make Baked Penne Pasta
What staple foods do you buy when grocery shopping? Do they include pasta, spaghetti sauce, ground beef, onions, and cheese? If the answer is yes, you might have everything on hand for this pasta bake recipe. Here’s all you need:
- dry penne or ziti pasta (I use ziti versus penne pasta.)
- one onion (I use a medium-sized onion.)
- a pound of lean ground beef or sausage
- 2 jars of spaghetti sauce (24 ounces each)
- 6 ounces provolone cheese, sliced (about 9 round slices)
- sour cream
- mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 6 ounces or 1 1/2 cups)
- Parmesan cheese
Be sure to use your favorite prepared spaghetti sauce or make your own if you prefer. By doing this you can flavor the pasta bake just the way you like it.
People commonly ask can you use penne for baked ziti? Substituting penne for baked ziti and vise versa is perfectly acceptable. This is because there is a slight size difference and ziti has ridges on the pasta while penne is smooth.
Also, you can substitute any pasta you have in your cupboard if you don’t have dry ziti pasta on hand.
Affiliate links to some of my favorite pots, pans, and kitchen utensils are included in this section.
- non-stick skillet
- slotted wooden or bamboo spoon
- dry ingredient measuring cups
- 9×13-inch casserole dish
- sharp knife
How to make Baked Penne Pasta
Preparing the Pasta And Sauce
Prepare the pasta by bringing a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Then add the pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes. Once done, drain and set aside. Cooking the pasta al dente allows for the sauce to absorb into the pasta while baking.
In a large skillet, brown the onion and ground beef over medium heat. If you prefer, you can use Italian sausage instead for a more robust flavored sauce. Out of habit, sometimes I season the ground beef mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
When the ground beef is done browning, add the prepared spaghetti sauce, and simmer for about 10 minutes. Be sure to stir the beef and tomato sauce-based sauce until well mixed.
Layering and baking Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Next, prepare a 9×13-inch casserole dish by spraying it with non-stick cooking spray.
To begin the layering process, spread a very thin layer of meat sauce at the bottom of the baking dish. Then, add a layer of the cooked ziti (approximately half of the prepared pasta) on top of the sauce. Next, layer the slices of provolone and spread the sour cream over the slices of cheese. I do dollops and then spread.
Layer the remaining pasta over the sour cream and then the mozzarella cheese. Then pour the remaining sauce mixture over the mozzarella cheese. To finish the layers, sprinkle the top with grated Parmesan cheese.
Bake the casserole for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted.
Wow! Doesn’t this baked penne recipe look amazing with all that gooey melted cheese?
Every good meal needs a great dessert to go with it, like these chewy homemade brownies. If you like, warm them up and serve them ice cà la mode. Who knows, you might have loads of fun making your own ice cream.
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- 1 pound dry ziti pasta
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 pound lean ground beef or sausage
- 2 24 ounce jars spaghetti sauce
- 6 ounces provolone cheese sliced (about 9 round slices)
- 1 ½ cups sour cream
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese shredded (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add ziti pasta, and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes; drain.
- In a large skillet, brown onion and ground beef over medium heat. Add spaghetti sauce, and simmer 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Spray a 9×13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.
Layer in the casserole as follows:
- Put a very thin layer of sauce mixture (about 1/2 cup) in the bottom of the prepared baking dish.
- Layer half (1/2) of the ziti pasta.
- Layer provolone cheese slices over the pasta.
- Spread sour cream over the slices of cheese.
- Spread half of the remaining sauce mixture over the cheese and sour cream layer.
- Layer the remaining ziti pasta over the meat sauce.
- Next, add a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Then layer on the remaining sauce mixture.
- Top with grated Parmesan cheese
- Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheeses are melted