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Recipe: Baked penne pasta with ground beef and tomato sauce

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Baked penne pasta with ground beef and cheese — an easy and relatively quick meal to make at home.

If you’ve ever been to Buca di Beppo in Honolulu, or any good Italian restaurant, you’ll know that the baked rigatoni is amazing. I’ve been thinking about how easy that type of thing would be to make at home, so Jake and I tried a similar recipe during the week — all without buying special ingredients and only using what we had in our pantry and freezer.

Now originally the baked rigatoni recipe I’m used to calls for Italian sausage. Nobody wanted to get back in the car and fight traffic for a grocery run, so we made a few substitutions. Instead of rigatoni we had some penne, and instead of sausage, we had ground beef. So we rolled with it.

Here are the ingredients for the specific recipe we followed: penne pasta, 1 lb. ground beef, a large can of tomato sauce, and shredded cheese.

Directions:

  1. Set your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil water in a large pot. Once your water is boiling, begin cooking your pasta as the box instructs. I used penne pasta, so if you are too, add 3 cups.
  3. While the pasta is cooking, begin browning your ground beef in a pan.
  4. After browning your meet, add your sauce into the pan. Mix it around and let that cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Once time is up, mix in 1 and 1/2 cups of shredded cheese into your meat and sauce mix. I used a Mexican mixture of cheese that we had in the fridge, and that tasted pretty good.
  6. Once your pasta is done, you can go ahead and add it to your sauce, meat, and cheese. If your pan isn’t big enough, go ahead and transfer your pasta and everything in the pan to your baking dish. (Remember: the baking dish you use should be oven safe. I’m using a Martha Stuart dish.)
  7. Mix it together well, then place it into the oven for 25 minutes.
  8. Take it out after your timer goes off and enjoy! You can also add some Parmesan Β cheese to top it off.

There are a couple components to get going to make this dish successful, but it’s pretty easy to make and doesn’t take all that long — perfect for a weeknight dinner. Now you don’t have to go out and spend all that money at an Italian restaurant!

What’s your favorite Italian recipe to make? Let me know in the comments!

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