I was really in the mood for lasagna tonight. Then I checked my cupboard and refrigerator and soon discovered I was lacking lasagna noodles and a few ingredients. I also discovered that I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. So, I decided to make do with what I had and came up with this baked penne casserole. Don’t laugh, but I had to use provolone and mozzarella cheese slices that I normally would use in my sandwiches. I told you, I was too lazy to go to the grocery store. In the end it still worked out nicely.
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 8 ounces sliced baby bella mushrooms
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 3 1/4 cup your favorite marinara or one 24 ounce jar pasta sauce
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 pound uncooked penne pasta
- 1 container low fat cottage cheese (32 ounces)
- 6 ounces provolone cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)
- 6 ounces mozzarella cheese slices (about 10 slices or enough to cover casserole)
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Meanwhile, coat your 13 x 9 casserole dish with cooking spray.
- In a large skillet, brown your ground beef and mince it down to your desired size.
- Add diced onions and mushrooms to the ground beef and cook for 3-5 minutes until onions are tender.
- Next add the wine, sauce, sugar, Italian seasoning, garlic powder and pepper. Stir to mix well. Sauce should be a little watery, not thick.
- Once the sauce is mixed and comes to a boil, turn off the heat.
- Add a layer of sauce to the bottom of casserole dish.
- Then add half your uncooked pasta to layer the casserole dish. (Yes, uncooked. Let the meat mixture you just made do the work for you.)
- Next layer the cottage cheese over the noodles.
- Now add the provolone cheese slices to cover the casserole dish.
- Add the rest of the penne noodles. Be sure to make an even layer.
- Add the rest of the sauce mixture over the penne noodles.
- Finally, arrange the mozzarella slices over the top of the sauce layer.
- Cover loosely with foil. (Tip: spray foil side that will be in direct contact with casserole with cooking spray, so the cheese does not stick.)
- Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.