Baked Penne with Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Pools of melted fresh mozzarella mingle throughout meat-sauced noodles in this baked pasta dish. It may be prepared the day before and is sure to become a favorite of busy cooks as well as those they serve.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • ¼ pound Italian sausage
  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 4 tsps chopped fresh oregano or 1½ teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • 12 ozs dried penne or mostaccioli
  • 8 ozs fresh mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • ¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

In a large skillet heat oil. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat for 1 minute. Add ground beef and sausage; cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is brown. In a food processor or blender, puree whole peeled tomatoes; add to meat in skillet. Add diced tomatoes, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large saucepan or Dutch oven according to package directions until tender but firm to the bite; drain. Return pasta to saucepan. Add meat sauce, mozzarella chunks and Parmesan cheese. Transfer pasta mixture to 6 greased 16-ounce individual baking dishes (or one greased 13×9×2-inch baking dish). Top with shredded mozzarella. Bake in a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes or until bubbly and cheese is melted.

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