25 Comforting Baked Pasta Recipes
Skillet Vegetable Lasagna
The best part of this vegetable lasagna—aside from the flavor—is the low-cleanup: Vegetables take turns cooking in a single cast iron skillet, not several. A stovetop simmer quickly cooks the noodles through, so there's no need for a separate pot to boil them. Then the pan shifts easily to the oven for a last-minute broil to melt and meld the cheeses. Perfection!
The shrimp goes into the pasta shells raw to prevent it from overcooking while the pasta bakes. Look for potato starch near the cornstarch in your supermarket.
If you’d like to make this comforting classic baked pasta dish ahead of time, you can freeze the unbaked casserole up to three months. Let it thaw completely; top with Parmesan and panko, then bake at 350°F until browned and bubbly, about 45 minutes.
Spaghetti Squash Lasagna With Spinach
This reader favorite has half the carbs of classic lasagna. If you bake the squash ahead, store the squeeze-dried strands in a zip-top bag, and stack the empty squash “boats” between damp paper towels before refrigerating.
Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and Cheese
The casserole idea is this: Disparate elements are combined, sauced, topped, and baked until yummy. In the noodle casserole, pasta and sauce canoodle in the oven so that the former absorbs the flavor of the latter and softens deliciously, while the cheese topping merrily bubbles and browns. In this collection, we apply these principles to lighter expressions of casserole perfection. Let's get gooey.
First up, Baked Pasta with Spinach, Lemon, and Cheese makes use of casarecce pasta—a short noodle with a curled edge that provides a large groove to hold the creamy sauce. If you can't find it, use fusilli, campanelle, or radiatore. Use a large, deep pot for the pasta so the spinach will fit inside, as well.
Bacon and Butternut Pasta
Broth, thickened with flour and enriched with crème fraîche, forms the savory sauce in this dish. We like the addition of earthy, hearty kale which helps balance the sweetness from the squash.
Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna
Silky roasted butternut squash stands in for noodles in this more nutritious take on the starchy pasta casserole.
Rich porcini broth and nutty Parmigiano-Reggiano add deep umami taste to this vegetarian lasagna. Plain white button mushrooms will work in place of cremini. Serve with a simple green salad for a satisfying meal.
This creamy baked pasta comes together quickly. Melted, gooey part-skim mozzarella cheese makes it even more decadent—without leaving you feeling guilty. Use any short pasta—ziti or rotini also work.
Gluten-Free Vegan Lasagna
For this gluten-free vegan lasagna, thinly-sliced zucchini is a great stand in for noodles. When salted, the excess moisture is drawn out, leaving you with a lasagna just as firm as the noodle version. Mashed tofu, when seasoned correctly, tastes eerily similar to ricotta, but with significantly fewer calories and fat. It holds its own against traditional recipes and will wow dinner guests all the same.
Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, and Spinach Lasagna
Full of warm flavors—butternut squash, sweet caramelized onion, fresh sage, and even a hint of nutmeg—this is the perfect company-worthy dish if you want to impress. Serve with a fresh salad of grapefruit and fennel, and sip our Pomegranate Fizz.
Semolina Lasagna with Spicy Amatriciana
Legendary Italian cook Lidia Bastianich shared her grandmother's surprisingly easy recipes for from-scratch homemade pasta, including this Semolina Lasagna with Spicy Amatriciana, whose tomato-and-bacon sauce packs a red-pepper punch, balanced by creamy melted mozzarella.
Three-Cheese Chicken Penne Florentine
Fresh spinach, chicken, and a combination of cheeses make this dish comforting enough for the last days of winter yet fresh enough for the first days of spring.
You can also cook the pasta mixture in individual 8-ounce ramekins, and bake for 15 minutes.
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese Recipe
This easy, cheesy pasta recipe features ziti, turkey sausage, canned tomatoes, and fresh basil. It's a perfect pasta dish for busy weeknights.
Two-Pepper Rigatoni and Cheese
Red bell pepper and pickled jalapeño pepper get added to the mix in this grown-up baked mac and cheese. "This is a great basic recipe because there are many possibilities for variations with different pastas and cheeses," says reader and recipe creater, Jeff Towle. "You can also use individual gratin dishes if you want a special presentation."
Baked Vegetable Lasagna
To help ensure that the cheesy layer remains moist and creamy, don’t press out the extra water from the tofu. Serve the lasagna with breadsticks and a green salad.
Truffled Wild Mushroom Lasagna
Hearty and rich, this vegetarian lasagna will satisfy the most die-hard of meat eaters. You don't have to spend a lot on truffle oil to make this luxurious meatless lasagna; look for small 2- or 3-ounce bottles, which are less likely to go bad before you use up the oil.
Wild Mushroom Pastitsio
Italian Sausage Puttanesca
If you're in the mood for something spicy rather than creamy, this is it. For a little less heat, use mild turkey Italian sausage instead of hot.
Vegetable lasagna is a crowd-pleaser and a classic make-ahead dish. You can use precut onions, matchstick-cut carrots, and broccoli, in addition to precooked noodles, to speed up preparation. If you make it ahead, let it cool completely, then cover and chill. The next day, heat single servings in the microwave. Freeze leftovers for dinner.
Artichoke, Spinach, and Feta Stuffed Shells
To fill the shells, simply spoon the cheese mixture into a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; squeeze out the air. Snip a one-inch hole in one corner of the bag, and pipe the filling into the shells.
Baked Ziti and Summer Veggies
Add pops of color to baked ziti with fresh summer veggies like squash, zucchini, and tomato. This quick and versatile recipe can be easily adjusted based on your favorite veggies or what you have on hand.
Fontina and Mascarpone Baked Pasta
This is mac and cheese for adults. It's got all the creamy comfort of the original, with the sophisticated flavors of Italian cheeses standing in for the traditional cheddar. The garlicky breadcrumb topping adds crunch and visual interest. If you want an even more elegant presentation, bake individual servings in ramekins or gratin dishes for each guest.
Easy Meatless Manicotti
Filled with a satisfying blend of spinach and three cheeses, the stuffed shells simmer in tomato-basil pasta sauce as the dish bakes in the oven.
Zucchini and Basil Lasagna
The oven-ready noodles and bottled sauce make this a quick recipe to put together.
Tip: Summer squash's mild taste and cool flavor make it a perfect for blending with other ingredients. Look for firm squash with little blemishing; refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to three days.