Beef and Pasta Bake for Picky Eaters

I love baked pasta with both tomato and béchamel sauce and lots of cheese. Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t like creamy sauces or cheese. But he does really like pasta and tomato sauce. So I came up with this beef and pasta bake for picky eaters, a variation that he would enjoy, while still tasting good. Unfortunately this just doesn’t seem to be something that photographs well, and it doesn’t stay together once plated because of the lack of creamy sauce or cheese to help hold things together. But it is delicious. The leftovers are really good too!

Additions and Substitutions

If you are making this for someone who does like cheese, you can go ahead and add some to the breadcrumb topping if you like. I would add about a 1/2 cup of cheddar and/or 1/4 cup of parmesan. Mix well with the breadcrumbs and butter and top and bake as directed in the recipe.

I usually use penne or ziti for this, but other short pasta shapes will work if that’s what you have.

How to Make Beef and Pasta Bake for Picky Eaters

Prepare for Baking

Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish. This would also work in a 9×9-inch dish.

Cook Pasta

Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, for a minute less than indicated on the packet so that it’s just al dente. Once cooked, drain well and set aside.

Cook Sauce

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground beef and cook, stirring to break it up, for about 4-5 minutes or until browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.

Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian herbs, as well as a dash of salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for a few minutes. You can simmer a bit longer if you started your pasta later and are waiting on it, just stir every now and then to ensure the sauce isn’t burning. Taste and adjust seasoning if required, then add the drained pasta and stir to combine.

Prepare Topping

In a medium bowl, stir together the breadcrumbs, butter, and more salt and pepper, to taste.

Bake

Spread the pasta mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture.

Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Beef and Pasta Bake for Picky Eaters

A pasta bake for those who don't like things that are creamy or cheesy.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 5

Ingredients

  • 8 oz ziti or penne
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 15 oz tomato sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs preferably fresh
  • 1/4 cup butter melted

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) and lightly grease an 8×8-inch baking dish (9×9-inch would also work).
  • Cook the pasta in salted boiling water, for a minute less than indicated on the package. Once cooked, drain well and set aside.
  • While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up, for a few minutes until browned. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute.
  • Add the tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian herbs, as well as a dash of salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for a few minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning if required, then add the cooked pasta and stir until well combined.
  • In a medium bowl, mix together the breadcrumbs and melted butter and add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Spread the pasta mixture evenly into the prepared baking dish and top with the breadcrumb mixture.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until breadcrumbs are lightly browned.
  • Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before serving.

Did you make this recipe? If so, follow @theflavorvortex on Instagram and post a picture using #theflavorvortex as I would love to see it!

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