No Boil Baked Penne

No Boil Baked Penne – SUPER easy weeknight meal. Simply mix together a few simple ingredients, pour it into a baking dish, and bake. No need to precook the pasta. It bakes along with everything else! Penne pasta, ricotta cheese, Italian sausage, spaghetti sauce, water, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Serve the pasta with a salad and some garlic bread for a restaurant-quality meal! #pasta #casserole #familydinner #noboilpasta

Originally posted 10/6/2010

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Easy One-Pan Pasta Casserole

This No-Boil Penne Pasta is a weeknight favorite. I call this a “no excuses meal”. There are no excuses to not eat at home with this recipe. This recipe is SUPER simple to make. You simply mix together a few simple ingredients and pour it into a baking dish. The best part about the recipe is that there is no need to precook the pasta before adding it to the casserole dish. It will cook in the dish with everything else. It takes longer for the oven to preheat than it does to make this dish. You can’t ask for an easier home-cooked meal.

We had this for dinner, and I had it again for lunch and dinner yesterday.  The leftovers tasted just as good reheated. I can not wait to make this again!

casserole dish of baked penne pasta

How to Make No-Boil Baked Penne

As I said, this casserole is SUPER easy to make. Start with browning some sausage or ground beef. In a large bowl, combine the cooked sausage, ricotta cheese, spaghetti sauce, water, uncooked penne pasta, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Spread the mixture into a baking dish and top with extra mozzarella. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake. Remove the foil and bake a few more minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly.

  • Do NOT cook the pasta. Add the pasta uncooked to the casserole mixture. It will cook along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • You can use sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, or no meat at all in this recipe.
  • I used Italian sausage, but this is also great with a roll of breakfast sausage such as Jimmy Dean.
  • This is a very basic recipe. Feel free to add some vegetables to the pasta mixture. Spinach, cooked mushrooms, onions, bell pepper would all be good.
  • My favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Rao’s, La Famiglia DelGrosso, and Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label).
  • Can No-Boil Baked Penne be made in advance? Sure. You can assemble the casserole and refrigerate overnight.
  • Can No-Boil Baked Penne be frozen? Yes! I suggest freezing this after baking and reheating when ready to serve.
plate of baked penne pasta casserole with salad and bread

What to Serve with Pasta Casserole

This baked pasta is a family favorite. It is easy to make and tastes fantastic! We make this at least once a month. It is just as good, if not better, than a restaurant. It is also just as easy as grabbing takeout. PLUS it is fresh and hot when we sit down to eat.

We usually serve this with a salad and some garlic bread. Here are a few of our favorite recipes from the blog that go great with this easy pasta casserole:

Creamy Italiano Salad

Creamy Italiano Salad – our favorite salad!!! Romaine, tomatoes, thinly sliced seedless cucumbers, sliced banana peppers, croutons, parmesan cheese, and…

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread

Garlic Parmesan Skillet Bread – refrigerated biscuits chopped and tossed in butter, garlic, italian seasoning and parmesan cheese. Baked in…

Italian Green Bean Salad

Italian Green Bean Salad – quick and delicious side dish! Green beans, tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, prosciutto, and mozzarella tossed…

scooping pasta from baking dish

No Boil Baked Penne

Yield: 8 people
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
No Boil Baked Penne – SUPER easy weeknight meal. Simply mix together a few simple ingredients, pour it into a baking dish, and bake. No need to precook the pasta. It bakes along with everything else! Penne pasta, ricotta cheese, Italian sausage, spaghetti sauce, water, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese. Serve the pasta with a salad and some garlic bread for a restaurant-quality meal!

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb sausage, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 (26-oz) jar spaghetti sauce
  • cups water
  • 1 (15-oz) container ricotta
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese
  • 8- oz uncooked penne

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Lightly grease 9x13x2-inch casserole dish; set aside.
  • In a skillet, cook sausage until no longer pink. Drain fat.
  • Combine sauce, water, ricotta, 1 cup of mozzarella, cooked sausage, parmesan, and uncooked penne pasta.
  • Pour into prepared baking dish and cover with foil.
  • Bake for 55 minutes. Remove foil and top with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes, until bubbly.

Notes:

  • Do NOT cook the pasta. Add the pasta uncooked to the casserole mixture. It will cook along with the rest of the ingredients.
  • You can use sausage, ground beef, ground turkey, cooked chicken, or no meat at all in this recipe.
  • I used Italian sausage, but this is also great with a roll of breakfast sausage such as Jimmy Dean.
  • This is a very basic recipe. Feel free to add some vegetables to the pasta mixture. Spinach, cooked mushrooms, onions, bell pepper would all be good.
spaghetti sauce
  • My favorite store-bought spaghetti sauces are Rao’s, La Famiglia DelGrosso, and Trader Joe’s Roasted Garlic Marinara (green label).
  • Can No-Boil Baked Penne be made in advance? Sure. You can assemble the casserole and refrigerate overnight.
  • Can No-Boil Baked Penne be frozen? Yes! I suggest freezing this after baking and reheating when ready to serve.

Steph

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plate of baked penne pasta casserole with salad and bread
scooping baked penne pasta from casserole dish
casserole dish of baked penne pasta

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Comments

  1. This was delicious! It will definitely make more appearances in our dinner rotation. The dish came together quickly for a low-prep meal. I accidentally bought cottage cheese instead of ricotta and have no regrets; it was a perfect swap to sneak in some protein.

  2. Could you make this without cooking the sausage first? That way it can all just be assembled and cook together? I have a Mexican Lasagna recipe that I make and you don’t cook the meat or noodles before.

  3. I have to make this soon! No pre-cooking the pasta is great!! And, I really like that I can adjust the ingredient list for four servings vs the eight shown. Thank you tons!

  4. The ricotta can be halved with sour cream or Greek yogurt (regular & NOT low or non-fat) The ricotta can be left in a sieve for a while to drain and be drier. Using some sour cream WITH the ricotta will make a smoother blend. So think maybe 12oz if drier ricotta and 3 oz of sour cream.

  5. I love this recipe! I hold scrapbooking retreats and I provide the food for everyone all weekend. I've used this multiple times and I'm using it again for a group next weekend. It's currently mixed up and in my freezer because I prepare everything ahead of time. It can't get much simple or more delicious than this dish!

  6. I'm making this today for a dinner tomorrow night. Do I need to go ahead and bake it today, refrigerate it and then re-heat it tomorrow. OR should I put it all together without baking it today, refrigerate and bake tomorrow? I'm concerned about the pasta consistency.

    1. I'm not sure about the pasta soaking in the liquid overnight either. You could mix everything in a bowl except the pasta and stir it together right before baking or bake it and reheat it.

  7. I have frozen homemade sauce with meat already in it, how much of that would you suggest? I'm thinking more than 26 oz?

    1. Trader Joe's Roasted Garlic is my favorite. Another favorite is La Famiglia DelGrosso – this sauce is everywhere.

  8. I made this a few weeks ago and it was delightful. I was suspicious at first because you don't cook the pasta, But I loved it. So did my dad and he's super super picky. We changed the sausage to ground meat. It was so good! I can't wait to make it again! 😀

  9. I have made this numerous times and it is always a hit!! It so nice to not cook the noodles before hand!! Thank you!! Love your blog!

  10. Michelle – If you are making it in two pans I would leave the cooking time the same. If you are going to put it in one huge pan, I would do it 1.5 times as long

  11. I want to double this recipe — what do you recommend on the cook time? Same, 1.5 more?? Thanks!

  12. Steph, tried this last night and couldn't believe how easy it was to make. I was going to make it the night before for my great nieces visiting from North Carolina but it was 103 degrees here and the house just wouldn't cool down so we ordered pizza. My husband and I loved this and the noodles come out el'dante just how I like them and the sauce was delcious. I just love your site and thanks again for the camera information, I have purchased a new camera and posted some new pictures on my site, check them out http://www.smalltownkitchen.com

  13. I used your recipe as a "template", and made it with what I had on hand…it turned out fabulous, and the whole family loved it! Thank you!

  14. I made this tonight and it's wonderful. Very forgiving, too. I didn't have any mozzerella, so I used Mexican mix shredded cheeses. I also didn't see that it had sausage in it, but I didn't have any. I ended up breaking up some breakfast sausage patties into the mix and then put four hotdogs on top of the casserole. Then, I didn't have any penne, so I used rotini. No matter – it is DELICIOUS!!! Thank you!!!

  15. Stephanie, I just wanted to tell you how nice it was to meet you in person today, and NOW I have to say that I will definitely be trying this recipe out on my family! This looks delicious and EASY, which is a total prerequisite in my house. I think I've tried three of the recipes you've posted over the last six months or so, and they've all been wonderful. Thank you so much, and again, it was lovely to meet you at the Harbert Plaza!

  16. Perfect meal for busy night with kids and hubby going in all different directions! Made it tonight — kids and I liked it! Dennis at game so he will probably opt for DQ dip cone for his supper. 🙂 Katherine still waiting on Sherbert!

  17. When you said "no boil", I was imagining, "Gee Steph….why is this so crunchy?"

    But it looks and sounds great. I guess the sauce and ricotta give it enough liquid over the baking time. And it is so easy too. Thanks for sharing this one.

  18. Oh, yeah my kinda pasta dish. You know what will put me off pasta more than anything? Having to wash that huge pot.
    ~ingrid

  19. This is what we're having for dinner tonight — I'll let you know how it turns out. But I can say that if I can make it, anybody can make it.

  20. Mmm, this looks tasty. Quick with barely any effort, that's what I like to see! I'll be trying this one out soon.

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