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baked penne pasta
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4.90 from 58 votes

Baked Penne Pasta

Easy pasta dish which is perfect for a large family or pot luck.
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time45 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 12 people
Calories: 352kcal


  • 3 links Italian sausage
  • ½ lb. lean ground beef
  • ½ large onion (chopped)
  • ½ large bell pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms (or dried gourmet mushrooms)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (divided)
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¾ cup water
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 24 oz. canned pasta sauce
  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (cubed)
  • 3 cups shredded cheese (your favorite blend)


  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. You can add up to 1 tablespoon of sea salt to the water. This will be used for cooking the pasta.

Prepare Pasta Sauce

  • Remove sausage casing and add the sausage to a large stockpot along with the ground beef, onion, green pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Add salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, and Italian seasoning. Cook over low to medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.
  • Add tomato paste, ¾ cups water (or ¾ cup liquid from soaked mushrooms), red wine, and pasta sauce to the same pot. Mix the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.

Cook Pasta

  • Meanwhile, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Stir to discourage the pasta from sticking together. Cook for 12 minutes, then drain.
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Assemble & Bake

  • To assemble the baked penne pasta, spray the bottom of a deep lasagna pan or baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add a cup of pasta sauce, followed by some of the cooked pasta. 
  • Distribute some cubed cream cheese and shredded cheese over the pasta along with more pasta sauce. Repeat with the remaining pasta mixture, making sure the pasta is completely covered with the sauce. You'll want to end with one cup of shredded mozzarella or other shredded cheese.
  • Cover the baking dish with foil that's been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Bake the penne pasta for 30 minutes.


  • I always have a large container of dried gourmet mushrooms on hand. The best part about using these mushrooms is that you can use the mushroom broth (the liquid that the mushrooms are soaked in) to enhance the flavor of the sauce.
  • Be sure to spray the foil prior to covering the pasta with it. This will keep the cheese from sticking to the foil.
  • When preparing this easy baked penne pasta you can sneak in extra veggies too, for example, zucchini.
  • When reheating the Baked Penne Pasta, add a small amount of liquid/broth. This helps to rehydrate the pasta and keeps it from being dry.
  • This baked penne recipe also freezes well, just in case you have leftovers.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 352kcal | Carbohydrates: 38g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 646mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 3g