This recipe is a family favorite. It's a favorite for me, because it is so darned easy-- literally all you do is cook some pasta and brown some meat. And a favorite for the kids, because it is so darned cheesy. I love to bring this dish to new moms, sick families, and potlucks!
1 box penne or mostaccioli pasta
1 lb ground beef (if you're ambitious, it's also good with 1/2 lb beef and 1/2 lb mild sausage)
1 jar spaghetti sauce (I use Prego Hearty Mushroom)
1/2 large onion
2-3 cloves garlic
1 can cheddar cheese soup
2 cups shredded sharp cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 385 or so, if you are planning to bake the dish for immediate consumption.
2. Get the water started for the penne. Don't forget to salt it a tish!
3. Grab a large skillet and put it about 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Finely dice onion, and saute. (Cook it until it becomes transparent.) Add 2-3 minced cloves garlic. (You can skip the onions and garlic if you want. But they really add something.)
4. Add raw meat to onions and garlic. Brown meat, adding basil and oregano to your taste.
5. When al dente, drain pasta and add it to a large oven-safe dish. (Something about the size of a La Creuset, if you are so lucky as to have one. I've got an old Corningware dish I'm rocking over here.)
6. On top of the pasta, add the cheese soup straight from the can, the spaghetti sauce straight from the jar, the browned meat, and 1 cup of the shredded cheese. Mix that bad boy all up.
7. Spread the other cup of cheese on top.
8. If you're going to eat it tonight, cook it. This will take about 30-45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like the top. Everything you put in the oven was already cooked, so experiment to see how "done" you want it. If you're not cooking it tonight, wait for it to cool some and cover it appropriately for the fridge/freezer. If you're potlucking it, slap that stuff right into your crock pot-- it will heat up nicely on high after about 1/2 hour or so.
Viola! Easy Cheesy Mostaccioli!