Freezer Friendly Baked Penne Pasta Recipe. Easy, kid-friendly dinner idea. Great for large groups too.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 pounds ground beef (or one pound ground beef & one pound Italian sausage) Here is where you can find meat you can trust.
- 1 can (28 ounce size) whole tomatoes, with juice
- 2 cans (14.5 ounce) tomato sauce or marinara sauce
- 2 teaspoons Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 16 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
- 1 tub (15 ounces) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1–1/2 pounds mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
Make It Now:
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add diced onions and garlic and saute for several minutes, or until starting to soften.
- Add ground beef and cook until browned. Drain off fat, leaving a bit behind for flavor and moisture.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Stir and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes.
- After that time, remove 3 to 4 cups of the sauce to a different bowl to cool down.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Begin to boil your pasta. Make sure to undercook it a tad–especially if freezing!
- In a separate bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, 2 cups of the grated mozzarella, Parmesan, egg, and a dash of salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta and rinse under cool water to stop the cooking. Pour it into the bowl with the cheese mixture and barely mix it together.
- Add the cooled meat sauce that you set aside earlier and toss to combine.
- Dump the pasta mixture into a large greased casserole dish or lasagna dish. (NOTE: I ended up using a 9×13 AND a 9×9 dish to fit all of it!) Spoon the remaining sauce over the top, then top with remaining mozzarella cheese. (Freezing instructions begin here.)
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving. Hint: Sprinkle chopped parsley over the pasta before serving!
Freeze For Later: Follow the recipe through Step 10. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, foil or a lid. Freeze.
Prepare From Frozen: When ready to cook, you have two options:
- Thawed: Thaw in the fridge (may take up to 48 hours) or thaw in the microwave on defrost setting. Bake at 375 degrees F according to Step 11 in the recipe.
- Frozen: If cooking directly from frozen state, cover with foil. Bake in a 375°F oven for about 1 hour and 20 minutes or so, until heated through and bubbly. Remove the foil the last 20 minutes.
We get our meat from ButcherBox*. The ground beef is grass-fed, grass-finished with no hormones or antibiotics and is absolutely delicious! We highly recommend this service to source DELICIOUS and HEALTHY meat–like heritage-raised pork, organic chicken, wild salmon, and uncured bacon–and have used it for years ourselves. *Disclaimer: We are an affiliate of ButcherBox.