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Easy Penne Pasta Bake, a Delicious Pasta Casserole with Beef

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This easy Baked Penne Pasta Casserole is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s a delicious combination of hearty flavourful meat sauce, fresh spinach, and bubbly mozzarella cheese. This yummy pasta bake is something your whole family is sure to enjoy!

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We are big fans of baked pasta dishes in this house. They are hearty, comforting, and such an easy option for a quick dinner when you need something filling but don’t have a ton of time. 

Why you’ll love this easy dinner recipe

Delicious meat sauce and lots and lots of cheese, this pasta bake is an easy dinner to make any night of the week. If you love pasta and you’re looking for an easy dinner idea, look no further. This penne pasta bake is about to become one of your favourites, just like it’s one of ours. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a big bowl of pasta. Al dente pasta covered in a saucy four cheese pasta sauce with spinach and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. It just doesn’t get tastier than that. Pop it in the oven to bake and in about 30 minutes, you’ll have yourself an amazing dinner.

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Penne pasta with hearty meat sauce with melted mozzarella cheese in a white casserole dish on a blue background

Ingredients for Penne Pasta Casserole

  • Extra-lean ground beef
  • Onion
  • Spinach
  • Dried Basil
  • Whole grain penne pasta
  • Four Cheese Pasta Sauce
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

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Penne pasta with hearty meat sauce with melted mozzarella cheese in a white casserole dish on a blue background

How to make a Penne Pasta Bake

Making this pasta bake casserole is super easy, but your family will think

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.
  • Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  • Add the onion and basil and cook until softened.
  • Add the spaghetti sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After the sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and add in the chopped spinach. Stir until wilted.
  • Add the drained pasta to the meat sauce and stir to coat.
  • Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish. Top with half of the Mozzarella and all of the Parmesan Cheese. Pour the remaining pasta on top and top with the remaining Mozzarella.
  • Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  • Set oven to broil and brown the cheese, about 3 minutes.
  • Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

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Penne pasta with hearty meat sauce with melted mozzarella cheese in a white casserole dish on a blue background

Tips for making a pasta bake

  • Use ground turkey for a healthier version.
  • You can technically use any pasta you want here, but I find that a short cut pasta works perfectly. I love penne because it becomes coated by the sauce so well. Plus, my kids like it he best, so that is always a deciding factor!
  • Use a whole wheat pasta to make this healthier.
  • You can use shredded Provolone if you can find it, but I actually really like the mozzarella cheese in this recipe.
  • This Penne Pasta Bake makes great leftovers!
  • You can double this recipe and make a second pasta bake for a future dinner. After it’s fully cooked, let it cool, then freeze it.
  • You can make it up until right before you bake it. Cover and refrigerate, then let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking it. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time. You will know when it’s ready when the cheese is melted and bubbling.

More comforting recipes to try

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Serve this delicious pan of pasta with a simple green salad and garlic bread for an easy weeknight meal.

Penne pasta with hearty meat sauce with melted mozzarella cheese in a white casserole dish on a blue background

Easy Baked Penne Pasta Casserole

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 28 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

This easy Baked Penne Pasta Casserole is the perfect weeknight dinner. It’s a delicious combination of hearty flavourful meat sauce, fresh spinach, and bubbly mozzarella cheese. This yummy pasta bake is something your whole family is sure to enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Extra-lean ground beef
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 cup Spinach
  • 1 tbs dried Basil
  • 2 cups Whole grain penne pasta, cooked
  • 1/2 jar (12 oz.) CLASSICO Four Cheese Pasta Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups Shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray a 2 quart baking dish with nonstick cooking spray, set aside.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, brown the ground beef.
  4. Add the onion and basil and cook until softened.
  5. Add the spaghetti sauce and allow to simmer for 15 minutes. After the sauce has simmered, turn off the heat and add in the chopped spinach. Stir until wilted.
  6. Add the drained pasta to the meat sauce and stir to coat.
  7. Pour half of the pasta into the baking dish. Top with half of the Mozzarella and all of the Parmesan Cheese. Pour the remaining pasta on top and top with the remaining Mozzarella.
  8. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 10 minutes.
  9. Set oven to broil and brown the cheese, about 3 minutes.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

Notes

  1. Use ground turkey for a healthier version.
  2. You can use shredded Provolone if you can find it, but I actually really like the mozzarella cheese in this recipe.
  3. You can double this recipe and make a second pasta bake for a future dinner. After it's fully cooked, let it cool, then freeze it.
  4. You can make it up until right before you bake it. Cover and refrigerate, then let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes before baking it. You may need to add a few minutes to the baking time. You will know when it’s ready when the cheese is melted and bubbling.

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 5 Serving Size: 1 bowl
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 742Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 17gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 169mgSodium: 854mgCarbohydrates: 57gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 55g

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment below or snap a pic and hashtag it #Salads4Lunch — I'd love to see all of your tasty creations on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!

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