(POSTED: May 23, 2005)

Beef Penne Pasta Casserole

This casserole with pasta and beef is sure to become a family favorite. It's also easy to prepare ahead and freeze for up to 2 months. When you're looking for a quick meal, just put it in the oven to bake.

1 pound dried penne pasta prepared according to package directions 

8 ounces lean ground beef  
1 small onion chopped 
2 cups water  
2 (6 ounces each) cans Italian tomato paste  
1/3 cup red wine or water  
1 tablespoon Maggi Instant Beef Flavor Bouillon  
2 (8 ounces) cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese


Preheat oven to 350* F.

Cook beef and onion in large saucepan, stirring occasionally, until beef is no longer pink. Add water, tomato paste, wine and bouillon; cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended.

Layer ingredients as follows in ungreased 13 x 9-inch baking dish: 1/2 pasta, 1/2 sauce and 1/2 cheese. Repeat layers; cover.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt.

For freeze ahead:
Prepare as above; do not bake. Cover; freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in refrigerator.
Preheat oven to 350* F.
Bake for 45 to 55 minutes or until heated through and cheese is melted. Season with salt. Servings: 6.

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