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Italian Pasta Bake

I love to make this pasta bake whenever I need to bring a dish to pass. Fresh tomatoes add a nice touch that's missing from most other meat, pasta and tomato casseroles.—Karla Johnson, East Helena, Montana
  • Total Time
    Prep: 40 min. Bake: 25 min.
  • Makes
    8 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) spaghetti sauce
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1 can (4 ounces) mushroom stems and pieces, drained
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 cups uncooked medium pasta shells
  • 3 plum tomatoes, sliced
  • 3/4 cup shredded provolone cheese
  • 3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Directions

  • In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce, diced tomatoes, mushrooms and Italian seasoning. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. Add to beef mixture and gently stir in sliced plum tomatoes.
  • Transfer to an ungreased 13x9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 25-30 minutes or until bubbly and heated through.

Pasta Bake Tips

Can I use uncooked pasta in this bake?

We don't recommend using uncooked pasta because it can soak up too much liquid, resulting in a dry pasta bake.

Should I cover pasta when baking?

The sauce and tomatoes in this Italian recipe provide enough moisture to bake it uncovered. Some pasta bake recipes may require covering to retain adequate moisture and prevent drying. It’s always best to follow the method in the recipe.

Can I prep and freeze this recipe?

Yes, unbaked Italian pasta bake freezes very well! Just cover tightly with plastic wrap, then wrap tightly with foil. When ready to bake, remove from the freezer 24 hours ahead of time and place in the refrigerator. Bring to room temp—and remove plastic wrap and foil—before baking. Follow these freezing tips to ensure your pasta bake comes out fresh!
Nutrition Facts
1-1/2 cups: 489 calories, 20g fat (8g saturated fat), 80mg cholesterol, 702mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (10g sugars, 5g fiber), 32g protein.