If you're looking for a comforting, delicious meal that's easy to prepare and perfect for any occasion, look no further than the pasta bake. Loved by home cooks, pasta lovers, and food enthusiasts alike, this dish combines the best elements of Italian cuisine into one hearty, satisfying meal.

pasta bake recipe

Ingredients You'll Need

Here's what you'll need to make a mouthwatering pasta bake:


  • 16 oz (450g) penne, rigatoni, or ziti


  • 2 cups homemade marinara sauce or creamy Alfredo sauce


  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese (optional)

Optional Add-Ins

  • 1 lb (450g) cooked ground beef or sausage
  • 1 cup sautéed vegetables (bell peppers, zucchini, spinach)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Fresh basil or parsley, chopped


  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Step-by-Step Instructions

Preparing the Pasta

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the pasta and cook it according to the package instructions, but reduce the cooking time by 2 minutes to ensure it's slightly undercooked.
  3. Drain the pasta and set it aside.

Making the Sauce

  1. Marinara Sauce:
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the minced garlic and sauté until fragrant (about 1 minute).
  • Pour in 2 cups of marinara sauce and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and fresh basil.
  1. Creamy Alfredo Sauce:
  • Melt 4 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add 2 cups of heavy cream and bring to a gentle simmer.
  • Stir in 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese until melted and smooth.
  • Season with salt, pepper, and freshly grated nutmeg.

Assembling the Bake

  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta and sauce, ensuring the pasta is evenly coated.
  3. If using ricotta cheese, dollop it in between layers of pasta for added creaminess.
  4. Add any optional add-ins like cooked meats or sautéed vegetables.
  5. Layer half of the pasta mixture in a greased baking dish.
  6. Sprinkle 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese over the pasta.
  7. Add the remaining pasta mixture on top.
  8. Finish with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Topping it Off

  1. In a small bowl, mix the Italian breadcrumbs with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  2. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the assembled pasta bake.
  3. Top with an additional cup of shredded mozzarella cheese for a crispy, golden-brown finish.

Baking Instructions

  1. Place the baking dish in the preheated oven.
  2. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
  3. If the top browns too quickly, cover it with aluminum foil and continue baking until heated through.

Serving and Enjoying

  1. Allow the pasta bake to rest for 5-10 minutes before serving. This helps it set and makes it easier to portion.
  2. Serve with a side salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables to complete your meal.
  3. Garnish with fresh herbs like basil or parsley for added flavor and presentation.


We hope you enjoy making and eating this ultimate pasta bake! Feel free to customize it with your favorite ingredients and don't forget to share your feedback with us. For more delicious pasta bake variations and recipes, visit our website or stay tuned for future posts.

Happy cooking! 🍝

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