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Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake

Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake: A Comforting Weeknight Favorite

 When you’re in need of a satisfying and speedy dinner solution, our Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake recipe comes to the rescue. This dish combines al dente pasta, rich tomato sauce, savory ground beef (or a vegetarian alternative), and layers of melted cheese for a comforting and delicious meal. Perfect for busy weeknights or when you’re craving classic comfort food, this pasta bake is a family-friendly crowd-pleaser that’s ready in no time. Let’s dive into the recipe and enjoy the cheesy goodness!

Ingredients:

For the Cheesy Pasta Bake:

  • 12 ounces (about 3 cups) pasta of your choice (penne, rigatoni, or rotini work well)
  • 1 pound ground beef (or plant-based ground meat for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 24 ounces (about 3 cups) marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or a blend of dried basil, oregano, and thyme)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh basil or parsley, chopped, for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

Prepare the Pasta:

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until it’s al dente. Drain and set aside.

Cook the Ground Beef (or Plant-Based Meat): 3. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef (or plant-based meat) until it’s browned and cooked through, breaking it apart with a spoon as it cooks.

  1. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic to the skillet and sauté for about 2-3 minutes until the onion is translucent.
  2. Stir in the dried Italian seasoning (or blend of dried herbs), and season with salt and black pepper to taste.
  3. Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet, stirring to combine with the meat mixture. Simmer for 5-7 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.

Assemble the Cheesy Pasta Bake: 7. In the greased baking dish, spread half of the cooked pasta evenly on the bottom.

  1. Top the pasta with half of the meat and sauce mixture.
  2. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella cheese and half of the grated Parmesan cheese over the meat and sauce layer.
  3. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta, meat and sauce mixture, and cheeses.

Bake and Finish: 11. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place it in the preheated oven.

  1. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the pasta bake is heated through and the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  2. Remove the foil during the last 5 minutes of baking to allow the cheese to get that irresistible golden crust.

Serve and Garnish: 14. Once out of the oven, let the Cheesy Pasta Bake rest for a few minutes before serving.

  1. If desired, garnish with freshly chopped basil or parsley for a pop of color and freshness.

Cook’s Notes:

  • Feel free to add extra vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach to the meat and sauce mixture for added flavor and nutrition.
  • Customize the type of cheese to your liking. Cheddar, provolone, or a blend of Italian cheeses can be delicious alternatives.
  • To make it extra indulgent, you can add a layer of ricotta cheese or cream cheese between the pasta layers.

  Quick and Easy Cheesy Pasta Bake is a go-to recipe for busy weeknights when you crave a hearty and comforting meal. With layers of pasta, savory meat (or plant-based alternative), flavorful tomato sauce, and gooey melted cheese, it’s a classic favorite that never disappoints. Gather your loved ones, serve up this delicious bake, and watch it disappear with smiles all around the table!

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