Kittencal's Layered Ground Beef-Penne Casserole

READY IN: 1hr 30mins


  • 1
    (1 lb) package dry penne pasta
  • 14
    cup butter
  • 1
    (250 g) container philadelphia roasted red pepper cream cheese, softened
  • 1 12
    lbs ground beef (or use bulk Italian sausage meat, spicy or mild)
  • 2
    tablespoons fresh minced garlic
  • 1
    teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional or adjust to taste)
  • 1
    (26 ounce) jar meatless pasta sauce
  • 1
    (10 ounce) can sliced mushrooms, drained
  • 14 - 13
    cup water (use only if needed)
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • 2
    cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided (can use more if desired)
  • 23
    cup grated parmesan cheese, divided (can use more)


  • Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
  • Cook the penne pasta in boiling water until just bendable (do not overcook the pasta until soft as it will cook more in the oven) drain well, then place the hot pasta into a large bowl.
  • Mix in butter until melted, then mix in the softened cream cheese; set aside.
  • In a skillet cook the ground beef with garlic and chili flakes until no longer pink; drain fat then continue to cook until browned.
  • Add in pasta sauce and mushrooms; bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Reduce heat to low and cook for about 20-30 minutes stirring occasionally, and season with salt and pepper to taste (if you find that the mixture is too thick add in 1/4 cup water and continue simmering for another 10 minutes).
  • TO ASSEMBLE; spread HALF the meat sauce into baking dish, then top with all the penne pasta mixture, sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese over the pasta, then 1 cup mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Dollup remaining meat sauce on top then spread out using a spoon.
  • Sprinkle 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese over the meat sauce, then 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until completely heated through and bubbly.