Cheesy baked mostaccioli — or baked penne, baked ziti, etc — is super easy comfort food with an Italian touch.
I like this version of the original recipe because I can take a few shortcuts and get a big pasta casserole — that can feed a crowd — in less amount of time.
I use canned marinara sauce and bechamel sauce to cut the time BY HALF!
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What if I want to make baked mostaccioli from scratch?
But if you want to use the sauces from scratch you can read these recipes:
Also, you can make these sauces ahead of time and store them in glass jars with lids. This way, you have your homemade canned marinara and bechamel sauce.
What type of meat is used for baked mostaccioli?
The original recipe calls for sweet Italian sausage but you can substitute it for the following options:
- Regular sauce
- Ground pork
- Ground beef
- Ground turkey (for a healthier result)
My favorite meat to substitute sweet Italian sauce is ground pork. If you are going to substitute Italian sauce, double the amount of garlic in the recipe and add a sprinkle of fennel to get almost the exact flavor in the meat.
Can I freeze it?
In fact, I like this recipe more when reheated. Generally, all pasta recipes are great for freezing or to take to work the next day. The sauce prevents the pasta from drying and the cheese will melt again and it tastes amazing.
Also, this recipe yields for 6 portions. In my house, we are just two adults. So, I like to save the leftovers for days when I’m not feeling like cooking dinner. Win-win situation.
- 300 gr Italian sweet sausage (or ground beef)
- 250 gr mostaccioli pasta (penne or ziti)
- 3 cups marinara sauce
- ½ cup bechamel sauce
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 onion
- ½ bell pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF)
Cook the mostaccioli pasta according to the package instructions.
Cut the onion and bell pepper into tiny cubes. Toss them into a pan along with the olive oil and minced garlic. Cook for a minute until fragrant.
Add the meat (sausage or ground beef), and the marinara sauce. Let it simmer for 8 to 10 minutes over medium heat until the meat is completely cooked. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. You will get a thick meaty sauce.
In a casserole pan add half of the bechamel sauce, spread well. Cover with half of the meat sauce. Layer with the cooked pasta. Then, the rest of the bechamel and the meat sauce.
Top with mozzarella cheese and parmesan cheese. Take the casserole to the oven for 10 minutes in broil mode or until the cheese is golden and crispy.