I was generally unmotivated today and needed to go to the store but instead spent hours mulling over my writing and failing to resist the pitfalls of social media. As a result, I ended up making dinner from items I already had on hand at home. Despite not having a clear idea of what exactly I was making in the beginning, it actually turned out pretty good! It’s basically my take on spaghetti. I present to you, Baked Beef Penne.
What You Will Need:
- 1 lb. ground beef (I prefer the 80/20 variety)
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained (14.5 oz.)
- 1 can tomato sauce (24 oz.)
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt (I like to use Kosher salt)
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 2 teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1-1 ½ cups penne pasta
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese (or more to taste)
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (or more to taste)
What You Need to Do
- First brown your ground beef in a large saucepan with your onions and garlic until the meet is not longer pink and the veggies are tender. I like to cook the beef a little first and then add the veggies and continue cooking the two together until the beef is no longer pink. Drain and return to saucepan.
- Add your tomato sauce, drained tomatoes, oregano, basil, salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper into the saucepan with the beef and vegetables. Heat to just below boiling.
- Turn down the heat and simmer covered for at least an hour. (I simmered mine for two.) Stir occasionally.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Boil penne pasta according to the box directions. Drain, and set aside. I highly recommend making sure you don’t overcook the pasta, as it will cook again in the oven.
- Use medium sized baking pan/dish (I recommend glass), grease with non-stick cooking spray or oil.
- Add meat sauce and pasta into the pan in alternating layers. (The bottom and top layers should be meat sauce).
- Add mozzarella to the top layer of meat sauce and bake at 350 until the cheese is melted or to desire doneness.
It turned out pretty delicious and full of flavor. A simple, great weekday meal with plenty of leftovers. (Even the picky four year old ate it.)