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How to make pasta bake

Pasta bakes are versatile main dishes that you can alter easily to suit individual tastes. It can be made with meats, all vegetables, seafood or a combination of all three. If meat is the main filling and you've got a vegetarian coming to dinner, you can simply replace the meat with a vegetable, or make the pasta bake all cheese.

Put four cups of water in a large pasta pot and bring to a boil. Preheat the oven to 165C. Add pasta when the water is at a roiling boil, and boil uncovered for eight to 10 minutes, or until al dente.

Saute the minced beef and onions in the skillet while the pasta cooks. Saute the meat until brown. Add mushrooms and saute until the mushrooms are somewhat wilted. Add the spaghetti sauce and heat through.

Mix the spaghetti mixture and pasta in a the greased casserole dish. Top with the shredded mozzarella cheese.

Bake uncovered in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is bubbly and golden.

Carefully remove the casserole dish from the oven and allow it to cool for about five to eight minutes before serving.

Tip

For a crispier crust, consider sprinkling Parmesan cheese on top of the mozzarella. Also, sausage meat is a tasty substitute for minced meat. Depending on the type of sausage used, the pasta bake will get sweeter or spicier.

Warning

Always use oven gloves to handle the casserole coming straight from the oven.

Allow the pasta to cool before serving to prevent people from burning their mouths on the hot cheese and oil.

Things You'll Need

  • 225 g pasta shapes
  • 450 g lean minced beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 115 g mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 jar tomato ragu sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4 cups water
  • Pasta pot
  • Salt
  • Skillet
  • Heat-resistant spatula or wooden spoon
  • Casserole dish
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About the Author

Jorina Fontelera has been writing about business since 2003, covering the printing and manufacturing sectors, as well as the global accounting and financial industries. She has contributed to "USA Today," "Milwaukee Business Journal" and several trade publications, also writing about parenting, animals, food and entertainment. Fontelera holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Marquette University.