Prep 25 mins
Cook 2 hrs
Of course you can use your favorite bottled pasta sauce of your choice to make this recipe, but it is really the sauce that makes this (do not omit the green bell pepper, I also add in a jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped but that is optional) To save some time and to allow the flavors to blend I strongly suggest to prepare the sauce 1-2 days in advance and refrigerate, this sauce freezes well for up to 3 months. Do not over cook the pasta as it will cook even more in the oven...you will *LOVE* this!
- 1 lb ground beef
- 4 cups cooked penne (about 3 cups uncooked)
- 2 1⁄2 cups grated mozzarella cheese, divided
- 1⁄2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or to taste)
- 3 -4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 1 small green bell pepper
- 2 teaspoons oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 -4 teaspoon dried chili pepper flakes (optional)
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh garlic
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1⁄2 cup dry red wine
- 2 (28 ounce) cans plum tomatoes (undrained and chopped)
- 1 (14 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 large bay leaf
- salt and black pepper
- For the sauce; heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat; add in onion, bell pepper, oregano, basil and chili flakes (if using) sauté for about 5 minutes (adding in the garlic the last 2 minutes of cooking).
- Add in the tomato paste and stir for about 1 minute.
- Add in all remaining ingredients; bring to a boil and simmer (UNCOVERED) on low heat for about 1-1/2 hours.
- Season with salt and pepper then remove the bay leaf.
- At this point you can cool then refrigerate for up to 2 days.
- Set oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a medium casserole dish (or a 13 x 9-inch baking dish).
- In a large skillet cook the ground beef until well browned, breaking up with a spoon until crumbled; drain fat.
- To the skillet add in about 5 cups prepared tomato sauce (more is okay, or just go ahead and use the whole amount of sauce if desired more sauce will never hurt lol!) cook for about 15-20 minutes on medium-low heat.
- Remove from heat and add in 1-1/2 cups mozzarella cheese; stir with wooden spoon to combine.
- Add in the cooked penne pasta; toss to combine with sauce and cheese.
- Transfer to baking dish.
- Bake for about 20 minutes.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese then about 1/2 cup (or more) mozzarella cheese, return to oven and cook 5-8 minutes more or until the cheese is melted.
The taste is very good, but the instructions of the recipe are not very clear, or user-friendly... And I think there is a error and that you should skip the step 15. Overall I think that we can simplify a little bit this recipe by cooking the groundbeef with the onions at first, and letting the beef simmer with the sauce. That's what I did and it was very good. I cook the sauce in a large casserole that goes as well in the oven so all I had to do when the sauce was ready is too add the penne and the cheese, and I did sprinkle the additionnal mozzarella & parmesan at this step and only cook for about 15 min. in the oven. It's simplier and less longer to prepare. Hope I did not hurt you with my suggestions... :)))))
Kittencal this was absolutely Yummo, Delicious. Who would want to use a jar sauce when this tomato sauce tastes fantastic and easy to make. It has such a wonderful flavor, I couldn't stop sampling it while cooking. The only thing I changed was to put in red bell peppers and not the green ones. Personal taste. Everything else was done as to the recipe. I put in about 2 tsp. pepper flakes, and it added the right amount of bite. I should of actually cut the recipe in half though, cause there is loads of leftovers. I seem to forget that there is only the 2 of us. But that just means there is great leftovers for lunches. I separated them into 4 separate containers for 2 people each. Thanks for this wonderful recipe Kittencal.
Excellent recipe. I have finicky children, they normally do not like sauce or meat just pasta. This combination was fantastic, they all had second helpings. I cheated by using store bought sauce but next time I'll try the recipe for the homemade sauce. What a winner!!!