Warm, cheesy and requiring less hands-on time than many other main dishes, pasta bakes fit the bill for a pot luck dinner or a hectic weeknight meal. Baking pasta in a casserole dish takes on many forms, from lasagne to macaroni and cheese, but the steps required for the baked dish closely mirror each other. Mix and match the pasta type, meat and sauce to create your own pasta bake.
Preheat the oven to 191 degrees Celsius.
Bring the water to a full, rolling boil in the cooking pot over medium high heat.
Add the pasta to the pot and cook for seven to eight minutes so it remains slightly under done.
Drain the pasta in a colander.
Mix the partially cooked pasta with the meat or vegetables and half of the pasta sauce.
Lay the pasta in the bottom of the baking pan, top with the remaining pasta sauce and sprinkle the pasta bake with the cheese.
Bake the pasta at 191 degrees Celsius for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the pasta finishes cooking to a slightly tender texture. Serve hot.
Opt for a large, thick pasta shape such as rotini, penne, elbow macaroni or farfalle which will hold up well to baking. Boil the pasta ahead of time and refrigerate it for up to five days in an airtight container.