Italian baked pasta

Italian baked pasta, also known as “pasta al forno,” is a classic comfort dish that’s perfect for gatherings or family dinners. Here’s a basic recipe for Italian baked pasta:


  • 1 pound (450g) of your favorite pasta (rigatoni, penne, or ziti work well)
  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef or Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Fresh basil or parsley for garnish (optional)


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Cook the Pasta:
    • Cook the pasta according to the package instructions until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
  3. Prepare the Sauce:
    • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook until softened. Add minced garlic and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
    • Add ground beef or Italian sausage and cook until browned. Drain excess fat if necessary.
    • Pour in crushed tomatoes and red wine (if using). Add dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld.
  4. Combine Pasta and Sauce:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the cooked pasta and the prepared sauce. Mix well to ensure the pasta is evenly coated.
  5. Layer in Baking Dish:
    • Grease a baking dish with olive oil. Start by layering half of the pasta mixture into the dish. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the pasta.
  6. Repeat Layering:
    • Add the remaining pasta on top of the cheese layer. Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the top.
  7. Bake:
    • Bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and the top is golden brown.
  8. Garnish and Serve:
    • Remove from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh basil or parsley if desired.
    • Serve the Italian baked pasta hot, and enjoy!

This dish is versatile, so feel free to add additional ingredients like sautéed mushrooms, spinach, or ricotta cheese to customize it to your liking.

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