18 Impressive Baked Pasta Recipes for Easter
There are few dishes more comforting than a pasta bake: Lasagna, baked ziti, mac and cheese, and rigatoni all deliver a coziness that's welcome at any table, as warm carbohydrates are known to do. While they're simple enough for any night, these baked pasta dishes still feel worthy of a special occasion and will make a fitting main dish or side at your Easter dinner.
One-Pot Cheesy Pasta Bake
This easy skillet pasta bake is a surefire family hit. Pasta and meat sauce topped with mozzarella cheese will make everyone at the table happy, and the all-in-one-pot technique will have the cook smiling pretty. Cooking the pasta in the meat sauce not only lessens the amount of dishes you have to do and the time it takes to get dinner done, but the starches in the pasta thicken the sauce—without you having to do a single extra thing.
Classic Lasagna with Meat Sauce
This simple lasagna is perfect for when you're short on time, but craving a comforting meal. Ready in just over an hour, it requires only 50 minutes of cooking in the oven.
Extra-lean ground beef (which sometimes cooks up dry) works well here because it's combined with marinara to keep it moist. For a quick and easy variation, feel free to use 9 whole lasagna noodles instead of 6 broken noodles, using 3 noodles per layer. You also can sub fresh basil leaves for the parsley sprinkled on at the end.
Chicken-and-Kale Alfredo Bake
A creamy, Parmesan-laced sauce is a no-brainer for an easy, cheesy pasta bake. Skip the jar and make your own with sautéed shallot and fresh lemon, picking up all the flavor from the same pan used to cook the chicken. If you have yet to try whole-grain pasta, this dish is a fantastic introduction: The noodles hold up nicely throughout boiling and baking and won’t overwhelm the dish with a strong wheat flavor. Keep whole-wheat panko in your pantry as your new all-purpose breadcrumb; the light, crisp texture will make an excellent crust for fish fillets or chicken breasts.
Meatball and Ziti Bake
Whole-wheat pasta holds up well in this cheesy, saucy pasta bake.
Easy Ravioli Lasagna
With ricotta cheese and spinach already tucked inside each ravioli, this is a shortcut way to a well-rounded lasagna. Classic meat sauce makes it über family-friendly.
If your baking dish won't fit in the microwave, freeze the pasta mixture, without the panko topping, in an airtight plastic container, and thaw in the microwave. Transfer to baking dish, and sprinkle with topping before baking.
Caprese Mac and Cheese
Inspired by the classic Caprese combo of mozzarella, tomatoes, basil, this decadent baked macaroni and cheese recipe is sure to wow. Roasted tomatoes add a touch of sophistication, as well as a burst of bright flavor to cut the richness of this creamy pasta bake.
Vegetable Lasagna with Butternut Béchamel
Here's a sauce so good you'll want to eat it by the spoonful. Make a double batch, and stir into whole grains, drizzle over vegetables, or use as a sauce for lighter mac and cheese.
Skillet-Baked Ziti with Andouille, Tomatoes, and Peppers
This spicy, heavily smoked pork sausage is seasoned slowly and cooked over pecan wood and sugarcane to achieve its distinctive flavor and firm texture. Andouille is sold ready-to-eat, with or without heating. Although it is fully cooked, it must be refrigerated. Commonly associated with jambalaya and gumbo, andouille can be used in place of any spicy sausage, like hot Italian sausage or pepperoni. An Italian-American classic gets a dose of Southern flavor. Other than cooking the pasta, you can pull this casserole together in a single skillet, making it ideal for busy weeknights.
Tomato-Basil Lasagna Rolls
Canned artichokes give the rich filling its meaty heft. Feel free to sub sautéed 'shrooms or spinach.
Creamy Kale and Pasta Bake
Even self-professed kale haters will fall in love with this cheesy baked pasta with crispy breadcrumbs. Round out the meal with a simple side of roasted carrots.
Baked Pasta with Sausage, Tomatoes, and Cheese
This easy, cheesy pasta recipe features ziti, turkey sausage, canned tomatoes, and fresh basil. It's a perfect pasta dish for busy weeknights.
Baked Shells and Greens
Give your go-to lasagna the week off, and try this hearty, meaty baked pasta that's easier to make and also a crowd-pleaser.
Baked Mac and Cheese with Bacon
There are few dishes more comforting and indulgent than mac and cheese, and this version will become your new go-to. Mac and cheese may seem straightforward, but in an all-star mac, each component is carefully considered and intentionally chosen to build a creamy, melty pasta bake. Master each element of the dish with this winning recipe.
Roasted Vegetable Baked Ziti
This hearty pasta bake is the ideal dish of cheesy comfort food for cooler weather. We love the depth of caramelized flavor roasted veggies bring to this dish; plus, and you can swap in your favorite vegetables to make your own perfect pan of baked ziti. In fact, this dish is also a delicious way to utilize leftover roasted vegetables you might have hanging out in the fridge. In order to keep the dish entirely vegetarian, be sure to double check the labels on your cheese (especially the Parmesan) to make sure you pick up a package that is free of rennet and vegetarian-friendly.
Three-Cheese Pasta Bake
This delicious variation on traditional macaroni and cheese is easy to prepare and perfect for weeknight family dinners and weekend entertaining alike. Add cooked chicken, shrimp, or sausage to the pasta bake and serve with a green salad and fresh vegetables for a hearty, well-rounded meal.
Baked Rigatoni with Zucchini and Mozzarella
If you’re in the mood for a cheesy lasagna but want something a little less labor-intensive, try this Baked Rigatoni. Fresh mozzarella, which is sold in water, has a short shelf life and should be used within a few days of purchase for the best flavor. If you can’t find ciliegini, you can tear a standard-size ball of fresh mozzarella into small pieces. Give this baked pasta an impressive look by using a springform pan.
Butternut Squash Lasagna
The sweet squash contrasts beautifully with Smoky Marinara in this butternut squash lasagna. You can make the marinara in advance, and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.