Howdy folks! 😊
If you’re like me, unless it’s a special occasion or I have a lot of time on my hands, my preference is for really easy, low-effort meals. And casseroles are a good fit for that category. “Low effort” does not in anyway mean “Low in taste and flavor” , so there’s no compromise on that one. 👌🏽
This Mince and Penne casserole is one I especially love because not only is it delicious 😋, but it includes all the key nutritional elements required in a meal. Carbs, Veggies and protein – in one dish, sprinkled with cheese 😁
This dish is easy to make with a few simple ingredients, and is a great ‘make ahead option for weekday lunches and lazy suppers alike. A definite winning combination! 😊
So, with further ado, here we go…
Mince Penne CasseroleCourse: MainDifficulty: Medium
350g Ground beef (mince)
350g Penne Pasta
300g Grated Cheddar cheese
1 medium Onion chopped
1 medium Green pepper, chopped
200g diced Carrot
200g Green Peas
300 Pasta Sauce
1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- I’d recommend starting with the pasta for this recipe. Cook the Penne as per package instructions, however remove from the heat before it is fully cooked. You still want the pasta to be firm because this dish finishes in the oven. If you cook the pasta all the way through, by the time the cooking is done in the oven, you’ll have yourself some mushy pasta on your hands. And we don’t want that. So, 10 minutes max, drain out the water and set aside.
- the next step is to brown and cook through the mince/ground beef (depending on which art of the world you’re in) 😊. Add the oil to the pan and once hot, add in the mince and begin to break it up with a wooden spoon, as you turn it to brown on all sides.
- Also prep the onion, garlic and green pepper while the mince cooks. Or preferably you can do this in advance, and set aside 😉
- Once the mince is browned and cooked through, add in the chopped onions, garlic and green pepper and cook until the onions are translucent.
- At this stage, add the seasoning, and the pasta sauce to the pan and combine well.
Cook this together for 3 minutes -5 minutes.
PS. There’s a pic of the pasta sauce I used. 😋
- Next, add the diced carrots and peas to the mince and combine. Cook for another 3 minutes. Remember, this is going into the oven, so the vegetables don’t have to be cooked until soft. 😊
- This is now the assembly stage where we put everything together. Transfer the cooked Pasta to the pre-greased casserole dish. You can use cooking spray or a bit of oil for this.
After the pasta goes in, then the Mince mixture. 😊
- You can do this in layers, alternating Pasta and Mince, or you can add everything together and then combine. Which is what I did, because you want the pasta to be infused evenly with the mince mixture. 😊
- Here’s a tip if you have extra cheese. You can mix some of the cheese into the dish at step 8, as you are making your layers for a more cheese-infused dish.
But if you just have enough cheese, then save it for the end. 😉
- Add the grated cheese to the top of the dish, in a nice, generous layer 😋. And then transfer to the oven to bake, on the middle rack.
- This is what the dish will look like once baked and the cheese is melted. 😋
Sprinkle the top with some finely minced parsley before serving.
P.S. If you want some extra browning, change the setting to ‘Grill’ and allow the top to brown for an extra 5 minutes. Make sure to stand-by so your dish doesn’t burn and become ugly 🙈
- Since this is a full meal, I’d recommend serving this with a light salad to cut through this rich creaminess if the cheese. Something like the Tomato Cucumber Salad or Beetroot & Green Bean Salad.