Ground beef casserole loaded with cheese is excellent comfort food for when you are craving pasta. So cheesy, hearty, and filling!
Try this easy casserole recipe when you don't know what to make with ground beef. It's a perfect idea for dinner, and the kids and adults alike will absolutely love it.
You will need the following:
Pasta. Penne pasta is what you need for this recipe. Usually packed 1 pound per bag. You may also use macaroni. Cook the pasta according to the package in boiling salted water, but you have to undercook it because you are going to bake it. I cooked it under 10 minutes leaving just a little bit of crunch to the pasta.
Ground Beef. 1 pound of lean ground beef is recommended but any ground beef will do. Make sure to remove the excess oil after you brown it. You don't want a greasy ground beef casserole.
Oil. I usually use olive oil, but vegetable oil will do. You just need a tablespoon to brown the ground beef or less if you are using beef with lots of fats.
Onion. You will want to mince them and cook them until translucent.
Garlic. Also, minced fresh garlic.
Marinara Sauce. Out of all the sauces for pasta, this one is my favorite. You need just 2 cups.
Salt and pepper to taste
Brown Sugar. You may skip this ingredient, but I like the contrasting flavor of sugar against salt and pepper. The recipe I adapted it from does not have this ingredient, so you may choose to omit it.
Cheddar Cheese. Shredded cheddar cheese is available in groceries, or you can grate your own if you are used to buying block cheese. If you don't have enough cheddar cheese, you can add any cheese you have.
- fried bacon bits
- seasonings: basil, parsley
How to Make Cheesy Penne Ground Beef Casserole?
First, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. At the same time, grease a deep rectangular baking dish by spraying oil on it. This recipe perfectly fits the 9 by 13 deep dish.
Cook your pasta in a pot of boiling water with salt. Undercook your pasta so it won't get too mushy once baked. I cooked mine for 9 minutes. Drain the pasta and transfer it to the baking dish.
Meanwhile, start browning the beef in a pan over medium heat. Start by heating a tablespoon of oil, then put the ground beef, and add the onions and garlic. Remove excess oil. You don't want a greasy casserole. Finally, add your sauce until heated.
Pour the sauce mixture over to the baking dish with pasta. Toss until all of the pasta is coated with the sauce. Take 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese and combine and toss with the pasta and sauce.
Top the remaining cheese on the pasta dish, ensuring the top is fully covered with cheese.
Now bake for 10 minutes. You can broil for a minute or two before serving.
Cheesy Penne Ground Beef Casserole
- 1 pound penne pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef 95% lean
- 1 medium onion minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar optional
- 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese divided
- Preheat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a deep rectangular baking dish (9x13) and set aside.
- Boil water and cook the penne pasta not more than 10 minutes. Make sure not to fully cook the pasta. Leave a little bit of crunch to it so it won't get overcook when you bake it later.
- While your pasta is cooking, heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Brown the ground beef. Add onions and garlic. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Get rid of the excess oil - important!
- Add the marinara sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. You may add brown sugar to balance the taste (optional).
- Drain pasta and transfer to the baking dish. Pour in the sauce mixture. Toss. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese. Toss again.
- Top pasta with the remaining cheese making sure the top is fully covered with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes. You can broil for a minute or 2 before serving.