Baked pasta is one of the staple dishes at our household, so I can't believe I haven't shared the recipe here yet! It's a very quick and easy dish to put together, perfect for when you're having a low-energy day or have a busy schedule. Even though it's super-easy to make, the kids are always happy to see me pulling this out of the oven! Serve with cooked veggies or tossed salad on the side. If you have a bit more time and ambition, you can throw together some Pull-Apart Garlic & Parmesan Breadsticks to serve with this and your family will be in heaven!
1 lb fusilli or rotini pasta
1 medium to large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4-1 lb ground beef
1 1/2 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup light cream
2 cups (or more) grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
In large pot of boiling water, cook pasta until al dente, then drain thoroughly and pour into lasagna pan.
While pasta is cooking, in a large saucepan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil until tender. Add ground beef and cook until no trace of pink remains. Add basil, oregano, salt, pepper, crushed tomatoes, and about 1/3 of the tomato can of water (you can add a bit more or less, depending how thick you want your sauce). Simmer the sauce for a few minutes, then turn heat to low and add cream.
Gradually stir the tomato sauce into the pasta until you have the desired "sauciness" level (most of the time I have a little bit of sauce left over - you can use it to make a single serving of spaghetti or throw it into a pot of soup). Once the pasta and sauce are well combined, sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over top, then sprinkle with Parmesan. Be as generous as you can with the cheese; the nice crusty cheese layer on top is what really makes this dish!
Bake at 375F for about 30 minutes, or until nice and golden and crusty on the top.