Baked Penne

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Piping hot, gooey, cheesy pasta is the perfect comfort food. Similar to lasagna, but this recipe is easy to throw together. It’s a hearty casserole that freezes well and makes enough to feed an army. Well, it fed my hungry family of four two nights in a row.

Amanda, Amanda’s Cookin’,  is my Secret Recipe Club blog this month. Amanda is the founder of the Secret Recipe Club, so it’s especially fun to feature her blog and her recipe. We’ve been blogging friends for several years now, long before she started the Secret Recipe Club. She’s a very caring person who is always willing to give advice and help other bloggers navigate the ins and outs of blogging.


 I chose to make Amanda’s No. 1 recipe for 2010, Baked Ziti. I substituted penne because it’s what I had on hand. You could use your favorite jarred pasta sauce, but I rarely buy pasta sauce because it’s so cheap and easy to make. My quick pasta sauce recipe is listed below the penne recipe. Visit Amanda for her pasta sauce recipe she used in this popular recipe.

This delicious baked pasta would be easy to change up. If you want to make a veggie version, just substitute veggies for the ground beef. I’m sure it would be fabulous with an Alfredo sauce and some spinach too.


I couldn’t resist taking pictures of the penne baking in the oven. Do you love to watch the cheese melt and brown up in the oven as much as I do?

Yield: 8 servings

Baked Penne

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


  • 1 lb box of penne pasta
  • 4 cups prepared spaghetti sauce (jarred or my recipe is below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 8 oz shredded mozzarella cheese (I used cheddar/jack)
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Quick Pasta Sauce

  • 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes in rich puree
  • 1 1/2 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. dried basil
  • 1/4 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 t. salt


  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Cook the pasta according to package directions, drain.
  3. In a large frying pan, saute onion in olive oil until transparent. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, drain. Stir in the ricotta, parsley, egg, salt, pepper and 2 cups of the spaghetti sauce. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
  4. Put pasta mixture into a greased 13x9 baking pan and cover with the remaining spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese begins to brown.

Quick Pasta Sauce

  1. Combined all ingredients in a sauce pan on medium heat and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.


slightly adapted from Amanda's Cookin'

Visit the Secret Recipe Club for information about how to join in the fun each month.

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