1 pound hamburger meat *
1 can (24 oz.) Del Monte pasta sauce **
1 bag (8 oz.) shredded Italian cheese ***
1 container (16 oz.) small-curd cottage cheese
1 pkg (16 oz.) penne pasta****
salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasonings to taste
* I have used 75-85% hamburger meat before. I tend to stick with 80/20 blend. However, this would be a great recipe to try ground turkey or pork!
** You can use any brand and type you want. Just try and use the same amount.
*** Any shredded Italian-type cheese would work great. Main point is to not use things like pepper jack, cheddar, etc. ha
**** Penne, bow-tie, shell cut pasta work great. Regular spaghetti makes dishing it out a little too much of a challenge!
- Preheat oven to 350°F
- Begin boiling heavily-salted water too cook pasta. After you have maintained a rolling boil, add pasta and a tbsp or so of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking to each other. Cook until just a little after al dente. You will be baking this more so just don’t cook it until it’s mush.
- Brown ground meat. At this point if you want to add onions or mushrooms go for it.
- After browned, add pasta sauce and seasoning. I also added about a half of a cup of Cabernet Sauvignon that I happened to have been drinking at the moment. Bring to a simmer and cook until you feel you have removed any sort of tin can flavor.
- Combine cooked pasta, meat sauce, and cottage cheese in bowl.
- Pour half of the mix into a 9×13″ pan. Spread half of the shredded cheese over first layer. Then top with the rest of the mix then remaining cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. Halfway through, I rotated my pan but may not be necessary in your oven.
- Let cool for a good 15-30 minutes before serving so that the casserole can set up a bit.