This Cheesy Pasta Bake is the ultimate comfort food. Penne pasta bake made with ground beef, pasta sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella, and cottage cheese is an incredible combination!
Three Cheese Pasta
This pasta bake casserole has quickly become a family favorite. Once you taste the creamy cheese, with the beef and pasta, you’ll understand why!
This easy pasta bake is a lot like lasagna, only easier!
It is perfect with those browned edges, melted cheese, chewy noodles, and garlic meat sauce. This isn’t a clean-slicing type of pasta dish — more of a scoopable kind. The eggs mixed with the noodles hold it somewhat intact, but not perfectly. The purpose of the eggs was to add a bit of richness to the cheesy pasta bake, as if this type of dish isn’t rich enough already! It isn’t a fancy-schmancy dish — just really good down-home comfort food.
We can never really get enough pasta in my house! If you are like me, be sure to give my One Pot Chicken Florentine Pasta, Taco Pasta, and One Pot Pizza Pasta a try.
Why You’ll Love This Cheesy Pasta Bake
- This penne pasta bake feeds a lot of people!
- It’s a super easy pasta bake.
- The flavor is so comforting and delicious.
- You can freeze it so you always have a simple meal on hand.
- Perfect for potlucks and family gatherings.
Easy Pasta Bake Casserole Ingredients
PASTA: We prefer the texture of penne pasta, but you could certainly swap it for any other pasta you like.
BEEF: I like to use lean ground beef because it has great flavor and it’s not as greasy. You could also use ground turkey, or ground beef which is higher in fat. Just don’t forget to drain any excess grease!
SEASONINGS: We use a combination of onions, garlic, salt, basil, and oregano to achieve the perfect results.
DAIRY: Adding in a couple of eggs keeps this dish rich and delicious. This three cheese pasta also has a little bit of butter as well as mozzarella, parmesan, and cottage cheese.
PASTA SAUCE: Any variety of your favorite pasta sauce will work. Go with what you already like, so you know it’s good!
How To Make Penne Pasta Bake
COOK PASTA: Preheat the oven to 350 ° and grease a casserole pan. Prepare the pasta according to the package directions.
PREPARE MEAT MIXTURE: Cook the ground beef, onion, and garlic in a skillet using medium heat. Drain excess grease, then stir in pasta sauce and salt. Simmer until heated through, then remove from heat.
MAKE CHEESE MIXTURE: Combine the eggs, parmesan, basil, and oregano together. Add in melted butter and briskly stir, making sure not to scramble the eggs. Drain the pasta, then add the egg mixture to the pan. Add a layer of cottage cheese, meat sauce, and mozzarella.
BAKE: Bake the three cheese pasta covered with tin foil for 40 minutes. Then, remove the foil and cook for an additional 20 minutes to brown the top. Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, absolutely! I am usually in a hurry, so I typically reach for jarred pasta sauce. However, this easy pasta bake casserole is a great recipe to use your homemade sauce in.
While it’s not required, it truly adds to the texture and flavor of the dish. If you aren’t a fan of cottage cheese, I think you’ll be surprised that it’s not an ingredient that stands out on its own. So, you most likely won’t even notice it. But, if you still don’t want to add it, it’s fine to swap it for a different cheese. Ricotta would be a great option.
- 1 16 oz pkg penne pasta
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 24 oz jar pasta sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon season salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter melted
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 24 oz container cottage cheese
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan and set aside.
Cook pasta according to package directions.
Brown ground beef, onion and garlic in a large skillet over medium heat until. Drain any excess grease. Add in pasta sauce and season salt and simmer until heated through. Remove from heat.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs, parmesan, basil and oregano together. Pour the melted butter in a thin stream into the egg mixture while briskly stirring taking care not to scramble the eggs. Drain pasta and while stirring quickly add in the egg, butter and cheese mixture. Pour this into your prepared pan. Now layer with the cottage cheese, meat sauce, and mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 20 minutes.
If you would like to layer as I have in this photo start by placing 1/2 the noodles in your prepared dish. Then layer with 1/2 the cottage cheese, 1/2 the meat sauce and 1/2 the mozzarella. Repeat layers and bake as directed.
*This dish can be frozen. Just thaw completely before baking.
8 thoughts on “Cheesy Pasta Bake (Three Cheese)”
I was simply wondering if you can mix all ingredients instead of layering? Just wondering if this might compromise the taste, texture or presentation of the dish.
Hi, so sorry I didn’t respond to your question sooner!! Yes mixing it all together will compromise the texture and presentation. It won’t change the taste as much. Thanks for asking and I hope you enjoyed!
This recipe is one I make from an old Betty Crocker Cookbook, with a couple of changes it calls for lasagna noodles and homemade pasta sauce other than the noodles and jarred sauce it’s exactly the same with the cottage cheese and all. Great recipe my family loves it.
Thank you so much for sharing!! I have been making this recipe for a very long time and I don’t even know where the recipe originated from, lol! A lot of people are turned off by the cottage cheese but my mom always used it in her lasagna. Thanks again! 🙂
I just came across this recipe and it’s the only recipe I’ve seen with cottage cheese that has made my mouth water.
I just got finished baking this delicious dish, and it’s definitely going in the weekly rotation!
Thank you for the kind comment, Heidi!!! My mom always put cottage cheese in her lasagna so I just continued the tradition with lasagna and lasagna type pasta dishes. I so glad you liked it!! 🙂
I love that you added cottage cheese to this bake. It makes the bake so moist!
Thank you so much, Shelby!