cheesy baked penne

Last night we had Bret’s grandparents over for dinner. What a night! It’s so fun to have them over. Here are a few fun facts about Bret’s grandparents:First, we call them Granny and Grampy (so cute, huh?!). Second, they love Jesus and each other dearly. Third, without fail, if you specifically tell Granny not bring anything…she still will. It’s just in her nature and it is incredibly generous of her. I have to fill you in on what came out of the 4 or 5 paper bags she brought over. Granny arrived with an ENTIRE ham, a giant loaf of ciabatta, a whole lemon tart, an almond pastry twist, and a large jar filled with gummy cokes for Bret. And, well, there is more…but I’ll stop there. Oh our sweet Granny, we love you so much!!! You spoiled us rotten and we can’t say thank you enough.

The last fun fact about Bret’s grandparents is their refined culinary pallet. They love meat, potatoes and lots of SUGAR. That being said, Granny always makes some pretty delicious feasts. It took me a couple of days to mull over what I could make them. I love raw kale salads for goodness sake. But, ultimately, I landed on a traditional pasta dish. Who doesn’t love Italian?! WHO doesn’t love cheese?! I essentially made this up off the top of my head, and it ended up being SO yummy! I hope you make it for your family and enjoy it as much as we did.
  • 1 large rectangular glass baking dish
  • 1 16 oz. package of penne pasta
  • 1 – 1.5 pounds of lean ground beef
  • 1 jar of tomato basil sauce
  • 12 oz. of shredded cheese (I used a Parmesan/asiago mix)
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon marjoram
  • Pinch of salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Boil water in a medium saucepan. Add penne and cook for 7-8 minutes or until just Al-dente. Strain completely and then transfer the penne to the glass baking dish.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Chop the onion. Sauté until the onion becomes translucent and soft.
  3. Press garlic cloves and add to the onions. Sauté for one more minute.
  4. Add the beef. Break it up and then add the basil, marjoram, salt and pepper.
  5. Once the meat is completely cooked through, add the jar if tomato sauce to the pan. Stir well and let it simmer for couple minutes.
  6. Pour the meat sauce over your penne into the glass baking dish. Stir it in well so that the sauce is evenly distributed.
  7. Stir half the cheese into the noodles so it is evenly distributed.
  8. Sprinkle the other half of the cheese over the top.
  9. Place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly.
  10. Serve immediately. Enjoy!

I paired this dish with KILLER garlic bread by Shutterbean, a garden salad, and mini apple crumbles for dessert (topped with whipped cream, of course). It was such a joy having Bret’s grandparents over for dinner. I enjoyed cooking for them and spending quality time together laughing, sharing, and playing domino’s. We are excited to do it again soon!

Let me know if have any questions about the dish. What are some fun facts about YOUR grandparents?

xo sarah


3 thoughts on “cheesy baked penne

  1. Pingback: resolution day recipes | this abundant life

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