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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


  • 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


  • 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.


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Average Rating:
  • Pat
    Dec 6, 2020

    I made this with hot italian sausage and hot italian meatballs. Also used spicy Rotel instead of tomatoes and pepper jack cheese instead of mozzarella. Yes I like spicy. It looked awesome and tasted like heaven

  • cynandtom
    Oct 12, 2020

    I used roughly chopped San Marzano’s rather than sliced tomatoes; added a little sausage to it that I had in hand; as well as a little fresh basil. Love the combo of mozzarella and provolone. Absolutely delicious pasta dish!

  • eileenweber
    Oct 4, 2020

    I used hot Italian sausage instead of ground beef (because I had it on hand; it was delicious!

  • Sandra
    Oct 1, 2020

    Do you know if gluten free pasta would work in this recipe? Wondered if it would get “gummy”?

  • wagondorfer
    Jun 10, 2020

    A little bland. Next time I will use Italian sausage and leave out the tomatoes.

  • Gregory
    Jun 7, 2020

    One change, drain the fat off the beef after most has been rendered.

  • odensesol
    Jun 3, 2020

    This is one of my family's favorite recipes. I always make it with Italian sausage and I leave off the tomatoes on top because my kids don't like them, but otherwise follow the recipe as written. Be sure not to boil your pasta too much or it will be too mushy after baking. Always delicious.

  • P.J.
    Feb 24, 2020

    Made with 1 lb. ground beef and 1 lb. mild Italian sausage. Only other change was about 1/2 extra cup of cheese on the bake to use up a package. Whole family loved it! Will definitely make this recipe again.

  • Amanda
    Jun 2, 2019

    Only change I made was only boiling the pasta for a few minutes. Boiling the pasta, then baking, made it mushy. The texture was not pleasant. Boil the pasta for half the recommended time, then mix it in and bake. Turns out much better!

  • fhquilting
    Jan 3, 2019

    I used 1 # of 93% ground beef and 1 # Italian sausage Drain both meats.. Added small package of turkey pepperoni before baking. Very good!