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Beef Lombardi

Beef Lombardi Casserole – A Hearty Italian-American Classic

 

Beef Lombardi Casserole is a comforting and savory Italian-American classic that brings together tender ground beef, pasta, rich tomato sauce, and layers of gooey cheese. This hearty casserole is a crowd-pleaser and the perfect choice for a satisfying family dinner. In this recipe, we’ll guide you through creating this delicious Beef Lombardi Casserole that’s sure to become a family favorite.

Ingredients:

For the Beef Mixture:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 (14-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

For the Pasta:

  • 2 cups penne pasta, cooked al dente
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

For the Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

For Assembly:

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Prepare the Beef Mixture:
    • In a large skillet, cook the ground beef over medium-high heat until it’s browned and crumbled. Drain any excess fat.
    • Add the finely chopped onion, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 2-3 minutes until the onions are translucent.
    • Stir in the crushed tomatoes and let the mixture simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Cook the Pasta:
    • In a large pot, cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil to prevent sticking.
  3. Prepare the Cheese Sauce:
    • In a separate saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.
    • Stir in the all-purpose flour and cook for about 1-2 minutes until it turns a light golden color.
    • Gradually whisk in the milk and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens.
    • Reduce the heat to low and add the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese. Stir until the cheese is fully melted and the sauce is smooth.
  4. Assemble the Beef Lombardi Casserole:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
    • In a large baking dish, layer half of the cooked penne pasta.
    • Spread the beef and tomato sauce mixture over the pasta.
    • Pour half of the cheese sauce over the beef mixture.
    • Add the remaining penne pasta, followed by the remaining cheese sauce.
    • Sprinkle a cup of shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
  5. Bake:
    • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.
    • Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes until the top is golden and bubbly.
  6. Serve:
    • Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Variations: Customize your Beef Lombardi Casserole by adding sautéed mushrooms, bell peppers, or spinach to the beef sauce for extra flavor and nutrition.
  • Leftovers: This casserole reheats beautifully, making it a practical and delicious option for meal prep.

Beef Lombardi Casserole is a timeless and mouthwatering dish that captures the essence of Italian-American cuisine. With layers of pasta, a savory beef mixture, and creamy cheese sauce, it’s a surefire hit at any family gathering or dinner table. Enjoy the satisfying flavors of this Beef Lombardi Casserole!

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