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Easy Double Cheese Baked Penne

  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 1 hr 5 min
  • Ingredients 9
  • Servings 8

We've affectionately nicknamed this lasagna-inspired casserole "New Baby Pasta"--it's exactly the type of freezer friendly comfort food you'd want to bring to a friend who's a new parent. (In fact, we created this cheesy dinner bake to hold up in the freezer, so it's guaranteed to taste just as good in a couple months as it would if you made it tonight.) With plenty of hearty beef, gooey cheese and bubbly pasta sauce, it's one of those satisfying, borderline-magical 13x9-inch meals that never seems to end! MORE+ LESS-

Ingredients

1
lb ground beef
1
medium onion, chopped
2 1/2
cups (8 oz) penne pasta, cooked and drained
3/4
teaspoon salt
1/4
teaspoon pepper
1
jar (24 oz) chunky vegetable pasta sauce
1
cup ricotta cheese
1
egg
2
cups shredded mozzarella or Italian cheese blend (8 oz)

Steps

Hide Images
  • 1
    Heat oven to 350°F. In 5-quart Dutch oven, cook beef and onion over medium-high heat 5 to 7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked; drain. Stir in cooked pasta, salt, pepper and pasta sauce.
  • 2
    In medium bowl, mix ricotta cheese, egg and 3/4 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  • 3
    Spoon half of pasta mixture (about 3 1/2 cups) into bottom of baking dish. Spoon ricotta mixture evenly over pasta mixture in baking dish. Top with remaining pasta mixture; sprinkle with remaining 1 1/4 cups cheese.
  • 4
    Spray piece of foil large enough to cover baking dish with cooking spray. Cover baking dish with foil, sprayed side down. Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted.
  • 5
    <b>To Make Ahead:</b> Wrap foil-covered casserole in double layer of plastic wrap; label and freeze up to 3 months. To thaw and bake: Thaw overnight or until completely thawed in refrigerator. Remove plastic. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until center is hot (165°F) and cheese is melted. To bake from freezer (no thawing): Heat oven to 350°F. Remove plastic. Bake 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is hot (165°F) and cheese is melted.

Expert Tips

Use a 13x9-inch foil pan to make and take the frozen casserole to someone. Remember to include the heating directions.

Use nonstick foil to cover casserole for convenience.

Garnish with chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) or regular parsley just before serving.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories
400
Calories from Fat
150
% Daily Value
Total Fat
16g
25%
Saturated Fat
8g
38%
Trans Fat
1/2g
Cholesterol
85mg
29%
Sodium
840mg
35%
Potassium
240mg
7%
Total Carbohydrate
36g
12%
Dietary Fiber
3g
12%
Sugars
2g
Protein
27g
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
20%
20%
Vitamin C
6%
6%
Calcium
30%
30%
Iron
15%
15%
Exchanges:
1 1/2 Starch; 0 Fruit; 1 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 0 Very Lean Meat; 2 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 1 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
2 1/2
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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