Cheesy Penne Pasta is a delicious and hearty 4-cheese casserole with incredible Italian flavors.
There is nothing quite like a comforting casserole. I love hearty, traditional, tomato, cheesy, pasta bakes like this one. That was a mouthful, just like Cheesy Penne Pasta. It is nourishing, rich, savory and gooey.
What makes this recipe particularly easy is you use a good jarred marinara sauce to cut down on the preparation time. The chuck hamburger and Italian sausage combination give you tons of flavors without making it too spicy to eat. Then you add the cottage cheese sour cream mixture to the hot pasta and it really gives it a soothing creamy texture.
There is something robustly wonderful about the multiple cheeses melting on top of the dish. I especially love the mozzarella, which slowly expands into a soft, chewy, stringy goodness. Hopefully you will have leftovers the next day, because it reheats beautifully. Ok, I can’t stand it anymore… I’m going to my refrigerator right now, because I really need some Cheesy Penne Pasta pronto! “Mangia everyone”, Italian for “So, Eat!”.
- 1 pound ground chuck or hamburger
- 1 hot Italian sausage, casing removed
- 2 mild Italian sweet sausages, casings removed
- 1 onion, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1 20-28 ounce jar best-quality tomato basil or marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup red wine, optional
- 8 ounces, weight uncooked penne or rigatoni pasta
- 1 cup Small Curd Cottage Cheese
- ½ cup Sour Cream
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- ½ cup Sliced Green Onions
- 1 cup Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
- 1 fresh mozzarella ball-thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. In a large non-stick skillet on medium heat, cook the ground chuck and sausage meat with onion, garlic, red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. Cook until browned and drain fat.
- Add in tomato basil sauce, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red wine. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente (it will finish cooking in the oven). Drain, and place in a large bowl. Add in the cottage cheese, sour cream, Parmesan cheese, egg and green onions, mix to combine.
- Add the meat mixture to the pasta and stir well. Pour into the baking pan and top with cheddar cheese and mozzarella cheese slices. Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbling around the edges. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the chopped basil.
For another fantastic casserole, please try our Zesty Taco Casserole!