Are you looking for a new family-friendly dinner to shake-up your regular routine? This Wagon Wheel Pasta Bake is an easy, make-ahead meal that is perfect for a weeknight, or can even be stored in your freezer for those busy nights when you don’t have time to cook. It’s sure to please even the pickiest palates, and kids love the wagon wheel shapes!
My children love wagon wheel pasta so much that it’s one of those pantry staples I keep on hand at all times. Unfortunately, all of the grocery stores in our area stopped carrying it! Even if I drive into the big city (i.e., Charlottesville), I still can’t track down the stuff! Instead, I’ve started ordering it on Amazon.com, which works just as well. I get a few boxes delivered to my doorstep — no travel required! However, if your family is not nearly as crazy for the stuff as mine is, you can feel free to substitute a different pasta shape like rotini or mini penne. Anything small will do!
I also love that the meat in this recipe is so flavorful. Instead of just your typical browned ground beef, this is seasoned with spices and Parmesan cheese — basically all of the taste of a meatball, without the time-consuming process of rolling out the individual balls.
Enjoy this one — it’s pure comfort on a cold winter evening!
Wagon Wheel Pasta Bake
- 6 cups uncooked wagon wheel pasta (or other short shape pasta such as rotini or penne)
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 1 lb. ground beef
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup Italian-seasoned bread crumbs
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
- Cook pasta for about 1-2 minutes less than called for on the package directions. You want it to be slightly under-cooked so that it doesn’t become mushy when you bake it in the oven later.
- Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the eggs, salt, garlic, and pepper. Add beef and mix well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs; mix gently.
- Crumble beef mixture into a large skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the marinara sauce.
- Drain pasta; place in a large bowl. Add beef mixture; sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Toss until pasta is well coated.
- Pour pasta mixture into a 13x9-inch baking dish (or into two 8-inch square baking dishes). Top with remaining 1 cup of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for approximately 25-30 minutes. Remove cover and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until top browns and pasta is heated through.
- Serve with additional Parmesan cheese on top, if desired.
Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.
Looking for other delicious family-friendly dinners? Try these: