Baked Penne Pasta with Bechamel and Meat Sauce Recipe

Baked Penne Pasta Recipe With Bechamel and Meat Sauce

There are many Italian baked pasta, or pasta al forno, recipes, the most common in the U.S. being lasagna and baked ziti. This particular dish is a bit reminiscent of baked ziti, though meatier and creamier. Although this baked penne pasta recipe is traditionally considered a primo, it is hearty enough to stand as a meal on its own, perhaps accompanied by a green salad and some warm crusty bread.

Baked Penne Pasta recipe

This particular dish is so easy to make and can feed a hungry crowd that will be so pleased once they bite into the baked penne pasta with the creamy bechamel and light meat ragu sauce. You can also make this ahead of time and bake it upon arrival of your guests, or it can be frozen for when you need to put a hearty dinner on the table but don’t have the time. If you leave out the ragu, it is still delicious and will satisfy any of your vegetarian guests.

5 from 4 votes
Baked Penne Pasta recipe
Baked Penne Pasta with Bechamel and Meat Sauce
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Total Time
1 hr

There is something so comforting and satisfying about a baked pasta recipe. I guess it reminds me of home, when Nonna used to make it for the family almost weekly. I also used to order it at restaurants in Milan, but it originates from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy.

Course: Primo
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: besciamella, penne, ragu
Servings: 6
Calories: 790 kcal
Author: Nonna Box
  • 12 oz ground beef
  • 1 14-oz can San Marzano tomatoes crushed
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper freshly ground
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 5 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano plus 4 tbsp for sprinkling on top
  • 4 1/2 cups milk simmering
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • black pepper freshly ground
  1. Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft, about 12 minutes.

  2. Add the meat and sauté, breaking it up with the back of a wooden spoon and stirring until browned, about 10 minutes.

  3. Add the wine and stir until it evaporates completely. Scrape all the browned bits from the bottom of the pot and add the San Marzano tomatoes. Stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

  1. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.

  2. Stir in the flour and cook for 2 minutes.

  3. Gradually add the simmering milk and whisk to combine.

  4. Whisk continuously until the sauce is creamy and smooth, then turn off the heat and add the Parmigiano-Reggiano.

  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, then cover and set aside.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.

  2. In a large pot, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil.

  3. Add the penne and cook for about 5 minutes, then drain in a colander. Note: It will not be completely cooked, as it will finish in the oven.

  4. Return the pasta to the pot and add the besciamella and ragu sauces. Mix until all the pasta is thoroughly coated.

  5. Pour the pasta into a greased 9 x 13-inch baking dish (or use parchment paper for easy cleanup) and bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until bubbling and golden.

  6. Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the reserved Parmigiano-Reggiano. Let rest for 15 minutes before cutting and serving.

Recipe Notes

Nutrition Facts
Baked Penne Pasta with Bechamel and Meat Sauce
Amount Per Serving
Calories 790 Calories from Fat 360
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 40g 62%
Saturated Fat 17g 85%
Cholesterol 92mg 31%
Sodium 324mg 14%
Potassium 615mg 18%
Total Carbohydrates 72g 24%
Dietary Fiber 2g 8%
Sugars 12g
Protein 30g 60%
Vitamin A 13.8%
Vitamin C 1.6%
Calcium 38.8%
Iron 14.6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Buon Appetito!

One thought on “Baked Penne Pasta with Bechamel and Meat Sauce Recipe

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *