Delicious pasta casserole recipes – quick and easy lunch and dinner ideas
Pasta casseroles are exceptionally easy to make. There are thousands of recipes combining a huge variety of ingredients – vegan, vegetarian, with meat, sausage, chicken, tuna, etc. Mac and cheese is one of the most popular dishes that everyone loves without exception. Italian timbale (timballo) is another example for delicious pasta bakes where layers of cooked pasta are combined with various fillings to create a harmonious dish that will please not only the taste, but also the eye. Actually, lasagna and cannelloni can also be considered as pasta casseroles.
Pasta casserole recipes are a great way to use the remnants of yesterday’s dinner. It is enough to just add some sauce – tomatoes, eggs, a mixture of eggs and cream or just grated cheese, sprinkle with dried bread crumbs, put in a hot oven and after half an hour you will have an excellent new dish.
Pasta casserole recipes – basic rules and important tips
Pasta casseroles are cooked with boiled pasta. It is best to use short varieties like rigatoni, penne, ziti, fusilli, farfalle, maccheroni, rigatoni, rotini, etc.
How to cook pasta casserole? Casseroles with pasta are a versatile dish. They are cooked quickly and easily and we selected some of the most delicious recipes for you. Pasta casserole recipes do not require special skills or experience. Typically, pasta is cooked before cooking the casseroles and you can add a variety of pre-cooked ingredients and make an excellent meal for a lunchbox, picnic, family gathering, etc.
Pasta casserole recipes for excellent and hearty lunch and dinner
Penne pasta and tomato casserole recipe
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery stalk, diced
2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp dried oregano
2×400 g (16 oz) cans chopped tomatoes
500 g (17 oz) penne
100 g ( 3 ½ oz) Cheddar cheese, grated
100 g ( 3 ½ oz) parmesan, grated
Bring a pot of salted water to the boil and cook the penne as per the pack instructions.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (390F).
In a large pan, heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the onion, carrot and celery for 5 minutes until softened. Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add in the balsamic vinegar and cook until reduced.
Add the oregano, canned tomatoes and 350ml (1 ½ cup) water and bring to the boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Use a food processor or a blender and process the sauce until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine sauce and drained pasta and transfer everything to a large casserole dish or baking tin.
Sprinkle cheese and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until golden and the sauce has reduced.
Vegetarian pumpkin pasta casserole
1.8 kg (4 lb) pumpkin, peeled, diced into 1.5cm pieces
Olive oil spray
500 g (17 oz) dried rigatoni pasta
50 g (1 ½ oz) butter, chopped
1 large brown onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup thick cream
1 1/3 cups milk
1 cup finely grated parmesan
1 cup chopped kale
200g (7 oz) bread, crust discarded, chopped
2 tablespoons pumpkin seed
8 cherry bocconcini
Mixed salad, to serve
Preheat oven to 200C/390F. Grease and line a large baking tray with baking paper. Grease a large baking dish.
Place pumpkin on prepared tray. Season with salt and pepper and spray with oil. Bake for 25 minutes or until tender.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta following packet directions. Drain and reserve 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
In a large deep pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Cook, stirring for 6 minutes or until onion softens. Add spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, then add cream and milk. Bring to a simmer. Cool 10 minutes.
Place 3/4 of the roasted pumpkin and cream mixture in a food processor and process until smooth. Combine pasta, pumpkin sauce, 3/4 cup parmesan, kale, remaining pumpkin and reserved cooking liquid in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer everything to the prepared baking dish.
Wash the bowl of the food processor and dry it. Process bread until coarse crumbs. Mix the breadcrumbs, pumpkin seed and remaining parmesan and sprinkle over pasta. Top with bocconcini and spray with oil.
Bake for 20 minutes or until top is golden.
Vegetarian pasta bake with spinach
Ingredients, Serves 4:
300 g (10 oz) penne pasta
500 ml (2 cups) milk
3 tablespoons corn flour
130 g (4 ½ oz) cheddar cheese, grated plus more for topping
A grating of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
200 g (7 oz) spinach, washed
50 g (1 ½ oz) walnuts, broken into pieces
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add in the pasta and cook until tender.
Heat the milk in a non-stick milk pan until tiny bubbles form around the edges. Place the corn flour into a small dish and pour over 5 tablespoons of the hot milk. Mix together to form a paste then return it to the milk pan.
Over a low heat stir the milk until it starts to thicken. Stir to avoid lumps. Add the cheese, season with salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste.
In a separate pan wilt the spinach and then strain all of the liquid out of it.
Strain the pasta and add it to the cheese sauce. Add the spinach and walnuts and top with cheese.
Place under a hot grill for 5 minutes or until the cheese has melted and gone slightly golden.
Mushroom Alfredo pasta casserole
Ingredients, serves 10:
1 lb. (450 g.) whole wheat penne pasta
1 head cauliflower (6-7 cups of florets)
3 cups chicken broth, divided
3/4 cups milk
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
2 cloves garlic
24 oz (680 g.) fresh mushrooms, sliced
4 tablespoons butter, divided
1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
fresh sage, sliced into thin ribbons
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the pasta for 5 minutes. Drain, toss with a drizzle of oil, and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add the cauliflower, and cook for 5 minutes until tender-crisp.
Meanwhile saute the minced garlic with a tablespoon of butter. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked cauliflower to a blender with 2 cups broth, milk, oil, salt, and sauteed garlic. Puree until very smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400F/390C degrees. Heat the 3 tablespoons butter in a very large skillet. Add the mushrooms and saute until golden brown.
Combine the cooked pasta, cauliflower sauce, and mushrooms together. Add the remaining cup of broth.
Transfer to a deep baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes. Top with fresh sage ribbons.
Tuna pasta casserole recipe
Ingredients, Serves 4:
Spray olive oil
200 g (7 oz.) pasta
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 spring onion sliced
2 cloves garlic crushed
½ teaspoon dried chili flakes
400 g (14 oz) canned chopped tomatoes
250 g (9 oz) cherry tomatoes, halved
1 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon lemon zest
2 cups rocket
400 g (14 oz) tuna in springwater, drained
¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Spray a large ovenproof dish with olive oil and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of unsalted water to the boil and cook pasta according to packet directions. Add peas for the last minute of cooking time. Drain pasta and peas, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid.
While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Cook spring onion, garlic and chili flakes, stirring for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Add chopped tomatoes and cook for 3-4 minutes. Set aside.
Combine pasta, peas, spring onion mix, cherry tomatoes, basil, lemon zest, rocket, tuna and reserved cooking liquid in a large bowl. Toss to combine. Season with black pepper.
Transfer pasta mixture into the prepared dish and sprinkle with cheddar cheese.
Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until cheese is golden brown.
Meatball pasta bake recipe
Ingredients, serves 4:
For the meatballs:
450 g (1 lb) minced beef
1 shallot finely diced
1 garlic clove peeled and minced
60 g (2 oz) dry breadcrumbs
1 medium egg
1 tsp Italian dried herbs
1tsp vegetable oil
250 g (9 oz.) rigatoni
400 g (14 oz) chopped tomatoes or passata
75 ml (1/3 cup) beef stock
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp smoked paprika
80 g (3/4 cup) grated Chedder cheese
30 g (1/4 cup) grated mozzarella
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley to garnish
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F
Start by making the meatballs. Place the minced beef, shallot, garlic, breadcrumbs, egg, dried herbs and a pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl and mix together to combine.
Lightly grease a large baking dish with the vegetable oil, then form the mince mixture into 12 meatballs. Place in the prepared baking dish.
Place the meatballs in the oven and cook for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, boil the pasta according to the pack instructions and drain when cooked.
Make the smoky sauce by mixing the passata, beef stock, Worcestershire sauce, paprika and a pinch of salt and pepper together.
Remove the meatballs from the oven, add cooked pasta in between the meatballs and pour over the sauce.
Sprinkle on the cheddar and mozzarella and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.
Top with a little freshly chopped parsley and serve with green veggies or salad.
16 ounces (450 g) grape tomatoes, sliced in half, divided
1 lb (450 g) penne pasta, cooked al dente according to package directions and drained
1/3 cup loosely packed chopped fresh basil
Preheat your oven to 350F/180C. Spray a large casserole dish with cooking spray.
Season chicken with salt and pepper.
Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Add the chicken and cook for approximately 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine marinara, ricotta, half of the mozzarella cheese, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan cheese, half of the cherry tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add cooked pasta and cooked chicken and stir to combine.
Transfer mixture to casserole dish. Top with the remaining cheeses and distribute remaining tomatoes on top.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling.
Top with fresh basil.
Chicken and spinach pasta casserole
½ lb (220 g) dry rotini pasta
2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
12 oz (340 g) jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
9 oz (250 g) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed
3 garlic cloves
8 oz (220 g)mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese, divided
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup mayonnaise
¼ cup sour cream
½ cup milk
Cook pasta according to the package instruction, until al dente, drain and set in a large mixing bowl.
Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook in a cooking pan over medium heat. When cool enough to handle, chop and add to the bowl with pasta.
Preheat oven to 350F/180C and lightly grease a casserole dish.
Add chopped artichoke hearts and spinach to pasta and chicken and mix well.
Add pressed garlic, minced parsley, shredded mozzarella, 1/2 cup grated cheese, salt and pepper.
In a small bowl, whisk mayonnaise, sour cream and milk together until smooth. Add to the pasta mixture and stir.
Transfer the mixture into the baking dish. Top off with remaining 1/2 cup cheese.