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5 from 2 votes

Macaroni Pasta Bake

from kristineskitchenblog.com
This Macaroni Pasta Bake is easy to make with ground beef, marinara sauce, pasta and cheese. Use elbow macaroni or any short pasta shape in this comforting baked pasta casserole.
Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time55 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Calories: 401kcal


  • 16 ounces elbow pasta or other short pasta shape
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 1 bell pepper chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or ground turkey
  • 32 ounces marinara sauce
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350° F. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch baking dish or other large rectangular baking dish.
  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions for al dente. Be careful to not overcook the pasta. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta to the pot.
  • Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper to the pan and cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the ground beef to the pan. Crumble the beef and cook until it is browned.
  • Pour the marinara sauce and reserved ½ cup of pasta cooking water into the skillet. Stir in the salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Pour the meat and sauce mixture from the skillet into the pot with the pasta. Stir. Stir in the shredded cheddar cheese. Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared casserole dish. Top with the mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the casserole is hot and the cheese is lightly browned on top. Let stand for 5 minutes and then serve.


  • If you forget to reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta, you can use regular water.
  • You can substitute the ground beef with ground turkey or sausage.
  • If you don't have elbow macaroni, any short pasta shape, such as rigatoni, penne or rotini will work in this recipe. You can use whole wheat pasta if you prefer.
  • I like to use one 32 ounce jar of Costco marinara sauce in this recipe and find it to be the perfect amount of sauce. You can use any marinara sauce (store bought or homemade).


Calories: 401kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 25g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 61mg | Sodium: 836mg | Potassium: 641mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1068IU | Vitamin C: 23mg | Calcium: 250mg | Iron: 3mg
Nutrition information is only an estimate.
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