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Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

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close up of a serving of Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone on a white plate

Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone is a hearty and delicious dish perfect for the whole family. It is made with ground beef, pasta, tomato sauce, and mascarpone cheese. Ground beef and pureed pumpkin are simmered in a marinara sauce that is seasoned with typical Italian seasoning. The pasta is cooked al dente according to the package directions and then combined with the tomato and meat sauce. The mascarpone cheese is mixed with ricotta and lemon and is then spread between layers of pasta. In the end, the dish is baked until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

Ingredients For Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

There are a couple of different components to making this pasta bake recipe that makes it a family favorite. The tomato and beef sauce, the pasta, and the creamy cheese sauce. Similar to lasagna – check out that recipe here.

Tomato and Beef Sauce

  • 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce
  • 1 pint of canned tomato puree (or a 16-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of pureed pumpkin 
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

The marinara sauce can be any kind of pasta sauce that you like, but an unflavored jarred sauce can be customized by adding your own seasonings. You can also make a tomato sauce from scratch with whole chopped tomatoes and a spoon full of tomato paste to thicken it up. 

marinara sauce in a pan with seasonings and a pat of butter

For the beef mixture, I use lean ground beef. Ground turkey or ground Italian sausage would also taste delicious. Pre-cooked freezer meats are the best way to get dinner on the table fast. On a meal prep day, cook a bulk batch of ground beef until golden brown. Let cool and portion into freezer bags. See how I do that here.   Simply take out a bag of pre-measured beef and add it right into the sauce. 

marinara sauce in a pan with frozen ground beef and pumpkin

Yes, you read that right pumpkin puree. I love decorating my house with fun pumpkins of different types and sizes every fall. At the end of the season, I roast all of those pumpkins, puree them, and store weighed-out portions in my freezer. Pumpkin puree makes excellent pies, muffins, and sauces.

It is the best addition to any tomato sauce!!  Pumpkin puree adds in so many vitamins and nutrients, not to mention making the sauce thick and velvety. It’s a great way to give your picky eaters some vegetables.

Frozen pumpkin added to marinara sauce to make simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone

Pasta

Penne pasta and rigatoni pasta are perfect for this dish. They are the perfect size with a tube-like shape for all the yummy sauce to fill into. I made two 3-quart pans with this recipe and use 24 ounces of noodles. (a package and a half)  One for dinner and one for the freezer. 

metal bowl of penne pasta

Cook your pasta noodles in a large pot of salted water over medium-high heat. Be sure to cook the noodles so they are just undercooked or al dente. You do not want mushy noodles because you will be cooking them again in the baking dish. 

Take a cup of boiling starchy water and set it aside – this is used in case you need to thin out your sauce. I also use it if the pasta starts sticking together. 

Creamy Cheese Sauce

  • 16 ounces of whole milk ricotta
  • 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 8 ounces of grated mozzarella cheese 
ingredients for the creamy cheese sauce of simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone

Mascarpone cheese is an incredibly smooth and delicious spreadable Italian cheese. It is great for savory and sweet dishes alike. Learn more about mascarpone cheese and see my mascarpone buttercream frosting recipe here.

Instructions For Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

1. Start simmering the tomato sauce. In a large high-sided sauté pan such as a 12″ cast iron skillet, add the marinara sauce, can of tomatoes, seasonings, butter, pumpkin puree, and cooked ground beef. Cook this over medium heat until it begins to bubble then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the cheese sauce. Taste it to see if you need to add any other seasonings. 

large skillet simmering the tomato and ground beef part of Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone

2. In a large bowl, mix the whole milk ricotta and room-temperature mascarpone cheese with a whisk until creamy. Then, simply mix the rest of the ingredients. Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the components. 

white bowl with a whisk filled with a ricotta and mascarpone cheese mixture

3. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring water to a boil and add some salt. Cook the pasta to the al dente package directions. Transfer the cooked pasta to the simmered tomato sauce and stir to get all that delicious sauce into all the nooks and crannies of the pasta. Turn off the heat. 

Penne pasta in a large skillet with marinara and ground beef

4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In two 3-quart pans (or two 9×13 pans) layer the tomato/beef/pasta mixture with the creamy cheese layer. I did two layers of each and topped with mozzarella cheese. Place the casserole dish in a heated oven and bake for 20 minutes covered and 5 minutes uncovered. Wrap the other one for the freezer if you like. 

layering Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone in a casserole dish

Wrapping Up Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone is a dish you will come back to again and again. It’s fast and easy for beginner cooks and great for kids to help with using simple ingredients. It has been voted my husband’s favorite dinner. 

baked Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone in a casserole dish

Serving Suggestions For Pasta Bake

Top with parmesan cheese for extra flavor at dinner time. The portion sizes vary from person to person, but this recipe makes more than enough for everyone. This is pure comfort food.

Serve this delicious dinner with:

fork full of Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone

Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone Recipe

Yield: Two 3 quart (9x13) pans

Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

Simple Beef Pasta Bake With Tomato Sauce And Mascarpone

Simple beef pasta bake with tomato sauce and mascarpone is a hearty and delicious dish perfect for the whole family. It is made with ground beef, pasta, tomato sauce, and mascarpone cheese.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce
  • 1 pint of canned tomato puree (or a 16-ounce can)
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • 1 cup of pureed pumpkin
  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of thyme
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 16 ounces of whole milk ricotta
  • 8 ounces of mascarpone cheese
  • 1 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • 1 teaspoon of basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
  • 8 ounces of grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Start simmering the tomato sauce. In a large high-sided sauté pan such as a 12" cast iron skillet, add the marinara sauce, can of tomatoes, seasonings, butter, pumpkin puree, and cooked ground beef. Cook this over medium heat until it begins to bubble then turn the heat down to a simmer. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the cheese sauce. Taste it to see if you need to add any other seasonings. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix the whole milk ricotta and room-temperature mascarpone cheese with a whisk until creamy. Then, simply mix the rest of the ingredients. Let the mixture chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest of the components. 
  3. In a large saucepan or stock pot, bring water to a boil and add some salt. Cook the pasta to the al dente package directions. Transfer the cooked pasta to the simmered tomato sauce and stir to get all that delicious sauce into all the nooks and crannies of the pasta. Turn off the heat. 
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.  In two 3-quart pans (or two 9x13 pans) layer the tomato/beef/pasta mixture with the creamy cheese layer. I did two layers of each and topped with mozzarella cheese. Place the casserole dish in a heated oven and bake for 20 minutes covered and 5 minutes uncovered. Wrap the other one for the freezer if you like. 

Notes

Layers don't have to be perfect.

Baking times may vary with different pans. A 9x13 will cook faster than a 3-quart casserole dish. If baking right away 20-25 minutes will work. From cold for 35-45 minutes, and from frozen for 1 hour to 1 hour and a half. Check with a knife inserted in the center.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

12

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 375Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 100mgSodium: 709mgCarbohydrates: 11gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 21g

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