Million Dollar Baked Penne
This Million Dollar Baked Penne has been a family favorite for decades and is destined to become one of YOUR new family favorites!  It’s loaded with hearty sausage, garlic infused tomato sauce and a hidden layer of creamy, gooey cheesiness that tastes like a million dollars AND it is quick and easy to make, fabulous for a crowd, freezes beautifully and doesn’t break the bank!
    Servings Prep Time
    8-12 servings 15minutes
    Cook Time
    45 minutes
    Servings Prep Time
    8-12 servings 15minutes
    Cook Time
    45 minutes
    This Million Dollar Baked Penne has been a family favorite for decades!  We serve it at all our family gatherings because its SO good, so easy!  The homemade sauce is incredible and the hidden layer of creamy/cheesiness is to live for! 
    • 1pound penne pasta, uncooked
    • 6-8slices provolone cheese
    • 1 1/2cups sour cream
    • 3cups shredded mozzarella cheesemore or less to taste
    • 1cup freshly grated Parmesan cheesemore or less to taste
    • 1pound lean ground beef
    • 1pound bulk Italian Sausage
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 6-8 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes in puree
    • 1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
    • 2tablespoons tomato paste
    • 1/4cup water
    • 2tablespoons sugar
    • 2teaspoons beef bouillon
    • 1TBS EACH dried basil, dried parsley
    • 1 1/2teaspoons salt
    • 1teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1/2tsp EACH dried thyme, pepper
    • 1/4-1/2teaspoon red pepper flakes
    1. Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions just until al dente – don’t overcook! Strain and rinse with cold water.
    2. In a Dutch oven, brown ground beef, sausage and onion over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 30 more seconds. Drain grease. Add all remaining Sauce ingredients and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees F. When oven reaches full temperate, mix cooked pasta with Sauce. (We wait to mix so the pasta doesn’t continue to cook in the sauce.)
    4. In a 9×13 pan, layer evenly: 1/2 the pasta, 1/2 mozzarella, all provolone, all sour cream, remaining pasta, remaining mozzarella and top with Parmesan.
    5. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted. Broil until cheese is golden. Garnish with fresh parsley if desired.
    Recipe Notes
    • *You just need enough provolone to cover the 9×13 in a single layer. Typically 8 slices medium provolone or 6 large slices as pictured from Costco.
    • You can substitute the Italian sausage for lean ground beef.
    • You can substitute the penne for your favorite pasta.
    • It is very important to not overcook your pasta because it is going to continue to cook in the oven.
    • You are welcome to use store bought marinara if you are in a pinch but you will definitely want to add more seasonings and I promise the “homemade” version is very simple.  It really is as easy as cook the meat then dump in the rest of the ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes.
    • Add veggies such as zucchini, mushrooms, carrots, etc. to the pasta sauce if you wish.

    How to Make Baked Penne Ahead of Time

    1. Take care that your noodles are cooked al dente and are rinsed in cold water so they don’t keep cooking.
    2. Assemble Baked Penne according to directions up until baking.
    3. Tightly cover Baked Penne with foil and refrigerate.
    4. Bake, covered, at 350 degrees for 30 minutes then uncover and continue to bake and additional 20-30 minutes or until completely warmed through.

    How to Freeze Baked Penne

    You can freeze this Million Dollar Baked Penne, but just keep in mind that milk products tend to change in texture somewhat, so your cream cheese/sour cream center might seem slightly curdled after baking, but it will still taste the same.

    To freeze Baked Penne:

    • Assemble Baked Penne according to directions but do not bake.
    • Allow penne to cool down completely before tightly covering with a double layer of heavy duty foil.
    • Layer penne and keep for up to 3 months in the freezer.
    • Bake penne from FROZEN.  Bake covered (with foil) for 60 minutes, then uncover and bake an additional  15-30 minutes OR until hot throughout.