Baked Pasta on Steroids

Lasagna is, hands down, one of my favorite meals. When given the choice for my weekly “epic” cheat meal, or a birthday dinner, I usually ask my wife to make it. But lasagna is apparently hard work…and thus, pasta on ‘roids as we’ve nicknamed it, was born.

It’s the best of everything Italian (according to me): tons of meat and veggies, mozzarella cheese, ricotta cheese (making it taste like lasagna!), pasta, and sauce. It’s like baked pasta, pizza and lasagna had a love child, all served up in one warm, delicious bowl.

We’ve made this a few times, and continually change the fillings. The idea is simple: 1-2lbs of your favorite meat(s), veggies (if you wish), your favorite sauce, your favorite pasta, and lots of cheese. Our favorite combinations so far:

  • Sausage (1 lb) and pepperoni with Paul Newman’s Sockarooni sauce
  • Sausage (2 lbs) and mushrooms with vodka sauce
  • Chicken (1 lb) and artichoke hearts with alfredo sauce

What would your favorite combination be?

Loaded Baked Pasta

Serves 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Meal type Main Dish
This cheesy baked pasta is loaded with meat, veggies and cheese, making it similar but easier than a lasagna dish.

Ingredients

  • 1lb pasta (we use gluten-free spirals)
  • 1lb ground beef or sausage (or your choice of meat)
  • 8oz mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 jar pasta sauce
  • 8oz ricotta cheese (if you can't find this, cottage cheese works in a pinch!)
  • 8oz mozzarella cheese

Directions

Step 1
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook pasta according to directions on package.
Step 2
While pasta is cooking, saute your meat in a large skillet. Add the veggies of your choosing once the meat is cooked, and saute for 2-3 minutes for flavors to meld.
Step 3
Drain pasta into a strainer. Return the EMPTY hot pot back to the stove (heat off). Add the jar of pasta sauce and the ricotta cheese. Mix well.
Step 4
Add half of the mozzarella cheese, the cooked pasta, and the meat mixture and stir.
Step 5
Pour mixture into a casserole pan. Top with remaining cheese, cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Step 6
Remove foil and cook for 5-10 more minutes, or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly.

 

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