I love Italian food. A big bowl of spaghetti, a slice a pizza, or a charcuterie board are always welcome in this house. The only thing I don’t like about cooking pasta dishes is all the dishes! Boiling water always takes longer than I think it will. The sauce takes a while to cook and the meatballs also need to be mixed, made, and cooked. In the end, you have an amazing meal but a sink full of dishes as well. My solution is this easy Tomato Pasta Bake (No Boiling Required).
I was looking for an alternative way to get all of the flavor but save on the dishes and assembly. My husband’s favorite meal at Italian Restaurants is baked ziti. I decided to give it a try from home but I did not have the necessary ingredients, so I improvised with what we had. He loved it. He tells me every time I make it that this is still in his top 3 favorite dinners. I have experimented with and changed things around but this Tomato Pasta Bake is as close to perfect as we can get it.
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It does take some time to make and throw together but it only takes 1 pot and 1 pan. I normally make the sauce during nap time (or the day before). Then I assemble and can easily throw it in the oven while the baby is awake. It does have some good veggies in it so it is nice not to have to make a side dish.
For this Tomato Pasta Bake, I love to use my All-Clad Lasagna Pan. I use this pan frequently for lasagna, casseroles, or anything requiring a large pan. I have had it for years and it still looks brand new. The quality is amazing and it is very easy to clean.
Tomato Pasta Bake (No Boiling Required)
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/2 medium onion
- 1 large carrot
- 1 zucchini
- 1 small stalk of celery including the green tops
- 1 tbsp dried parsley or 2 tablespoons fresh parsley
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp dried basil or 2 Tbsp fresh basil
- 29 oz can tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 1/2 cups Unsweetened Almond Milk or milk of your preference
- 16 oz Cavatelli Pasta or any small pasta like fusilli or macaroni
- 8 oz fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Take out a 9×13 baking dish and a 5-Quart pot with a lid.
- In the pot, brown the ground beef and cook until the desired doneness over medium heat. Once cooked, remove meat and set aside. Drain off fat from the pot.
- While meat cooks, finely chop the onion, carrot, celery, zucchini, and parsley or blend in a blender.
- Mix veggies chopped above in a pot used to cook the meat. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pot and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are softened and cooked through.
- Remove cover and add the minced garlic. Increase the heat to medium-high. Cook for garlic for 30 seconds.
- Add tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and cooked ground beef. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
- Turn off heat and stir in Almond Milk. Once combined add pasta (dry pasta straight from the box- no boiling required) and mix.
- Pour into a baking dish in an even layer.
- Cut Mozzarella into slices. Place on top of pasta mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan over the entire dish.
- Bake for 40 minutes or until cheese on top is cooked and bubbly.
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I love playing with this dish and trying to hide veggies in it. If you make this Tomato Pasta Bake and have success hiding additional veggies not listed in this recipe, I would love to know!