Baked Mostaccioli is a cozy and delicious meal made with a homemade sauce packed with Italian sausage and ground beef, tossed with tender pasta, and a generous helping of melty cheese.
When we need a comforting meal after a long day, I almost always prepare this mostaccioli. The combination of pasta, meaty sauce, and lots of cheese is cozy perfection. Throw together a salad and some breadsticks, and you’ve got a dinner the whole family will adore.
Why You’ll Love This Pasta Recipe
- Filling: The blend of pasta, meaty sauce, and cheese creates a satisfying meal, perfect for unwinding.
- Family-Friendly: The recipe is always a hit with the whole family, offering a hearty dinner that everyone can enjoy.
- Customizable: You can use store-bought pasta sauce for a quicker preparation and you can also substitute the ground beef and sausage for ground turkey or chicken.
Ingredients For Mostaccioli
- For the Pasta: 16-ounce box of mostaccioli or penne pasta and salt.
- For the Meat Sauce: olive oil, onions, ground beef, ground Italian sausage, garlic, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, pepper, and canned crushed tomatoes.
- For the Cheese: ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
How to Make Baked Mostaccioli
- Prep. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set it aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- Cook the Onions and Meat. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil and cook the onion until translucent. Add the sausage and ground beef, and brown the meat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon.
- Sauce Ingredients. Once the meat is browned, add the garlic, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for a minute, stir in the crushed tomatoes, and let it simmer.
- Combine. In a mixing bowl, mix together the cooked pasta, meat sauce, and ricotta cheese.
- Layer the Casserole. Place half of the pasta mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the shredded mozzarella and half of the parmesan. Repeat these layers with the rest of the ingredients.
- Bake & Serve. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes or until bubbly at the edges. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 10 minutes before serving.
Recipe Tips for Success
- Ground Meat: I use one pound of ground beef and one pound of ground Italian sausage. Ground turkey or chicken can be substituted if you prefer.
- Al Dente Pasta: Since the pasta will continue to cook in the oven, it’s important to only boil it until it is al dente (fully cooked, but still slightly firm to the bite). I suggest boiling for 2 minutes less than the recommended time on the package.
- Cheese Options: If you want, you can substitute cottage cheese for the ricotta, and provolone for the mozzarella. I suggest an un-smoked provolone for a creamy, mozzarella-like result.
- Sauce Shortcut: This recipe has you create your own meat sauce, but you can take a shortcut by using your favorite pasta sauce in a jar. Marinara, garlic and olive oil, and veggie sauces are all great options.
Side Dish Suggestions
Baked Mostaccioli and a side of these Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Radishes sounds fantastic. You can also go with a creamy Cucumber Salad or a twist on a classic with my Caprese Stuffed Avocado. These fluffy, buttery Garlic Knots are so simple that you’ll want to serve them at every meal. And serve a slice of this Tiramisu afterward.
How To Store Leftovers
- You can refrigerate leftover baked mostaccioli for 3 to 5 days, tightly covered in an airtight container, or freeze it for up to 3 months.
- Reheat individual portions in the microwave, or bake the whole casserole again at 350˚F until warm.
- Make it ahead by assembling the casserole and then refrigerating it for up to three days, tightly covered with foil or plastic wrap. Bake on the day of, and enjoy.
More Easy Pasta Recipes
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta Bake
- Slow Cooker Lasagna
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta
- Gigi Hadid Pasta
- Quick Beef Stroganoff
- 1 teaspoon salt, for the water
- 16 ounces mostaccioli, or penne pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound Italian pork sausage, casings removed
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1½ teaspoons sea salt, or to taste
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or to taste
- 3 cups crushed tomatoes
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- chopped parsley, for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°F.
- Grease a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta to the pot and cook to just al dente, about 2 minutes less than package instructions. Drain and set aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet set over medium heat. Add in the diced onion and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add in the Italian sausage and ground beef, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon or spatula into smaller pieces.
- Cook over medium-high heat for 8 to 10 minutes or until beef and sausage are browned and cooked through. Continue stirring from time to time, breaking up the meat into pieces.
- Stir in the minced garlic, Italian seasoning, chili flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook for an additional minute.
- Add crushed tomatoes. Stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Place the cooked pasta in a large bowl. Pour the meat sauce over the pasta and add in the ricotta; mix until well combined.
- Place half of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish, and spread evenly. Sprinkle with half the shredded mozzarella and half the parmesan cheese. Repeat with a second layer of pasta mixture, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until cheese is golden brown and bubbly at the edges. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 to 15 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
- Pasta: If you can’t find mostaccioli, use any tube-shaped pasta like penne or rigatoni.
- Cheese Swaps: Use cottage cheese instead of ricotta and un-smoked provolone as a creamy alternative to mozzarella.
- Sauce: Save time by using your favorite store-bought pasta sauce.
- Ground Meat: I use a mixture of ground beef and Italian Pork Sausage, but if you prefer to use ground chicken or any other ground meat, go right ahead.
- Storing Leftover Mostaccioli: Cover tightly and refrigerate the leftovers for up to 5 days.
- Freezing Baked Mostaccioli: You can freeze this baked or unbaked. Wrap it tightly in two layers of plastic wrap and foil and keep it in the freezer for up to 3 months.