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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!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 6 servings


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef (may use 1/2 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 1/2 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


  • Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large nonstick, oven proof skillet or Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add meat and season with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and 1/2 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!