One Skillet Cheesy Penne

Your whole family is going to LOVE this epic ONE Skillet Cheesy Penne (with meat sauce) and you are going to love how easy it is!

This Cheesy Penne is life changing – or at least culinary changing.  The pasta cooks right in the homemade ragu so the pasta soaks up tons of flavor then is loaded with cheeeeeeeese for an easy, comforting, any-night-of-the-week dinner.  Serve this penne pasta alongside garlic bread and Parmesan asparagus for a delectable dinner with little cleanup but TONS of taste!

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One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!

There is nothing quite as universally comforting to devour as a cheesy, hearty pasta from my Classic Lasagna and One Pot Lasagna Soup to my Million Dollar Baked Penne, Million Dollar Mac and Cheese Casserole, One Pot Chili Mac and Cheese, Spaghetti Bolognese, Spaghetti and Meatballs to my Cheesy Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta – I could go on and on and on.   And there is nothing quite as universally appealing to a cook as easy cleanup as a ONE SKILLET PASTA – enter your new best friends, One Skillet Cheesy Penne!

You will love every cheesy, meaty, saucy bite of of this cheesy penne.  Not only is it cheesy, but its creamy, seasoned to perfection and is going to have you craving its comfortliciousness endlessly.

 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!

While pasta is already a relatively quick and easy dinner, we are able to eliminate two extra pots and  infuse the pasta with tons of flavor by simmering everything right in the same skillet.

One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!

How to Make Cheese Penne

  • First, brown your beef with onions and carrots then stir in your bell pepper and garlic.
 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
  • Stir in crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, and your Italian seasonings and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
  • After 10 minutes and your ragu flavors have melded, stir in the water and pasta…
 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
  • And simmer an additional 12-ish minutes or until your pasta is al dente and has soaked up the seasoned water.
 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
  • Stir in the cream, Parmesan, and cheddar – mmmmmmm……
 One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
  • Top with mozzarella and broil just until the cheese is melted and golden.
Adding cheese to Cheesy Penne & New York Bakery® Bake Garlic Bread.

And you have ooey, gooey, saucy One Skilley Cheesy Penne all under 30 minutes and all in one dish!

Close up of Cheesy Penne with cheese melted.

Another bonus of this One Skillet Cheesy Penne is that it makes wonderful leftovers – I think the flavors are even better the next day as I could not stop craving it, eating it, loving every bite of it.

Close up of Cheesy Penne in a pan.

So the next time you need an easy prep, easy cleanup but absolutely rave worthy meal (which is all the time right?), try this One Skillet Cheesy Penne! And sit back, relax, and let someone else wash the one skillet.

Looking for more easy Italian pasta recipes?

Cheesy Penne & New York Bakery® Bake Garlic Bread in a pan serving with a spoon.

Want to try this One Skillet Cheesy Penne? 

Pin it to your PASTA, DINNER or Meat Board to SAVE for later!

Find me on Pinterest for more great recipes!  I am always pinning :)!

©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!

One Skillet Cheesy Penne

One Skillet Cheesy Penne - the best homemade ragu sauce simmered right with the pasta then loaded with cheese! My family begs me to make this weekly!
Servings: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (may use ½ sausage)
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 15 oz. can fire roasted tomatoes with seasonings, drained
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp EACH chicken bouillon, sugar, dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp EACH dried oregano, dried parsley
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 ounces uncooked penne (about 3 ½ cups)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick, oven proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add meat and season with ½ teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon pepper and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add onions and carrots and cook until meat is browned.
  • Add bell pepper and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in crushed tomatoes, fire roasted tomatoes, tomato paste, chicken bouillon, sugar, and all seasonings and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • After 10 minutes, stir in the water and pasta. Cover, increase heat to medium-high and cook at a vigorous simmer (you may need to decrease heat), stirring occasionally and replacing lid, just until the pasta is al dente, 12-16 minutes. Taste pasta often as reaches the end of cooking to ensure you don’t overcook your pasta.
  • Stir in the cream, Parmesan, and cheddar until well combined. Top the pasta evenly with mozzarella. Transfer the skillet to the oven (on the middle rack) and broil until the cheese is melted and golden, 2-3 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.
  • This makes wonderful leftovers – I think the flavors are even better the next day!

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Reader Interactions

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22 Comments

    • Jen says

      LOL! I hear ya! Can’t get enough cheesy pasta! Thank you so much Ali, I hope you can make it soon!

    • Jen says

      I am always up for “real food” for breakfast! I’m excited for you to try it too – super cheesy and comforting! Thanks Marisa, have a great weekend!

  1. Tammy says

    Making this right now on this cold Texas night! House smells amazing and I can’t wait for dinner!

    • Jen says

      What a great comforting meal for a cold night! I hope you all love it! Have a great weekend!

  2. Courtney says

    This looks delicious! I have everything to make it!! One question, Is the beef ever strained after browning it?

    • Jen says

      Hi Courtney! It is up to you – if it needs to be strained then I would definitely strain it but if you use lean ground beef you might not need to. Enjoy!

  3. Mark says

    this is the bomb, my girlfriend just made this for me and i’ll never be the same

    • Jen says

      You are so nice to take the time to comment Mark, thank you so much! I am thrilled you loved this so much!!

  4. Nicole says

    One pot dishes!! Where have you been all my life?! This was a definite crowd pleaser. Husband and kid approved! I love the flavor/crunch that the veggies give it! Definite repeater!

    • Jen says

      Right?! I love One Pot or Sheet Pan meals so much – its hard to want to create anything else! I am thrilled this was a crowd pleaser – your family has great taste 🙂

  5. Jenna says

    Any tips on how to make this one day ahead of time? Do all steps and simply reheat the next day? Do steps 1-3 and save 4 for the day of? Looking forward to trying this out!

    • Jen says

      Hi Jenna, this actually keeps very well, so making the recipe in its entirety ahead of time works beautifully, just be sure not to overcook the pasta. enjoy!

  6. Steve says

    Lovely meal! Made this for my partner and three children, and even the fussy one said it was awesome. Being from the UK, I was unsure of a couple ingredients, but made do. I used 500g of beef, some roasted red pepper instead of the bell pepper, and 500g passata and 200g tin chopped tomato instead of the crushed tomatoes and fire tomatoes (never heard of them). I also used the fresh refrigerated pasta from the supermarket, about 350g was plenty, and used about 2 cups of water as it absorbs less (I also cooked it for less time). Oh, and lacking a skillet, I used a wok! Garnished with fresh basil and served with salad. I’ve already had requests to make it again! Bravo! Excellent recipe!

    • Jen says

      Hi Steve, I’m so happy this was a hit with the whole family! Thank you so so much for providing the recipe equivalents for those from the UK – I’m sure many will appreciate that!

  7. Melissa says

    I made this tonight and it was fantastic! We have made many of your recipes and have loved them all. Thank you for spicing up dinner times!

    • Jen says

      That’s awesome! I’m thrilled you are loving my recipes! thanks Melissa!

  8. Sue says

    Oh my goodness me! Did the kids love this one! You made me Mom of the year! Or night , at least. I didn’t have a red pepper or the fire roasted tomato, I just used regular tomato pieces in sauce but it was still just fantastic. I had a bit of cream and cheese that needed using up immediately also, so it was perfect! You seem to have an inmate sense on what families like to eat. Thank you so much again! Love these family recipes! With items on hand!

    • Jen says

      YAY! Congrats to Mom of the year 🙂 I’m thrilled it was such a hit! Thank you so so much for your kind words, I just love to cook and to share! I’m so pleased you are enjoying my recipes! xo

  9. Ellen Manalo says

    Hi Jen! I cannot find a can of fire roasted tomatoes with seasonings here in our local grocery store i only see crushed tomatoes. I love anything pasta so I really want to try this delicious recipe, what can i use instead? Thanks for replying & warm regards from your fan in the Philippines!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Ellen! You can use regular diced tomatoes instead, you just might need to add a little more sugar to balance the acidity. Enjoy!