Italian Bake is a delicious and comforting dish that typically includes pasta, meat, cheese, and a rich tomato sauce. Below is a simple recipe for making a tasty Italian Bake at home. For this recipe, we’ll use penne pasta, ground beef, marinara sauce, and a combination of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- 12 ounces (340g) penne pasta
- 1 pound (450g) ground beef
- 1 jar (24 ounces / 680g) marinara sauce (store-bought or homemade)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Fresh basil leaves (optional, for garnish)
- Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter.
- Cook the Penne Pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the penne pasta according to the package instructions until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- Cook the Ground Beef: In a large skillet or frying pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and chopped onions and sauté until the onions become translucent. Add the ground beef and cook until it is browned and cooked through, breaking it up with a spatula as it cooks. Drain any excess grease.
- Add the Marinara Sauce and Seasoning: Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet with the cooked ground beef. Add the dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Stir everything together and let it simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
- Layer the Ingredients: In the prepared baking dish, start by spreading half of the cooked penne pasta at the bottom. Next, pour half of the meat sauce over the pasta. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the sauce.
- Repeat the Layers: Add another layer with the remaining pasta, followed by the rest of the meat sauce, and then top it with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.
- Bake the Italian Bake: Cover the baking dish with foil and place it in the preheated oven. Bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes or until the cheese on top is bubbly and lightly browned.
- Garnish and Serve: Remove the Italian Bake from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh basil leaves if desired. Serve hot and enjoy your delicious Italian Bake!
Feel free to adjust the seasonings or add vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, or spinach to the meat sauce for added flavor and nutrition. Serve the Italian Bake with a side salad or garlic bread for a complete and satisfying meal. Buon appetito!