Baked Mostaccioli Pasta

A generous layer of cheese baked on a simple mixture of Mostaccioli Pasta, red sauce and Italian sausage makes a delicious family meal!

This easy pasta casserole recipe only has five ingredients and is a budget-friendly dinner.

Penne pasta, Italian sausage, red pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese in an easy casserole on a red and white plaid napkin.

Mostaccioli Pasta Recipe

Baked Mostaccioli is similar to penne pasta, but smoother on the outside. It makes a classic cheesy casserole. We love the combination of meat, cheese and pasta in every bite!

These simple flavors blend so well together we make this casserole regularly. Just like our Baked Swiss Chicken and Stuffed Crust Pizza this recipe is easy enough to memorize.

This easy dinner is good for families because it uses basic ingredients that kids will eat, makes generous portions, reheats and freezes well.

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Another similar baked pasta variation is our Spaghetti Pizza Casserole. This recipe also reminds me of our Pizza Pasta Bake which uses different variations of the meat, pasta and cheese in this recipe.

Close up pieces of tender mostaccioli coated in pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese with brown bits of meat in each bite and a fork resting on the back of the plate.

When my teenage son cleaned his plate, went for a refill, took leftovers in his school lunch and complimented me I was inspired to add this right back into meal plan!

Ground beef can be used to make the casserole more mild and zesty sausage can be used to give it more kick. I like a little kick in the Italian Sausage.

What is Mostaccioli

Mostaccioli is a variety of pasta with a tubular shape very similar to penne pasta. Mostaccioli is smooth and penne has ribbing or ridges. These little bumps give penne a spot for sauce top stick to.

With Mostaccioli being the tube only without ridges, each piece of pasta is a bit lighter and smoother.

In our recipe the cheese and sauce bake into the mostaccioli to help hold the ingredients together.

We commonly find a specialty brand or Barilla Mostaccioli on the shelves. Penne is the most common alternative, but you can also substitute mostaccioli for ziti, rigatoni, bow tie, elbow, cavatappi or cellentani pasta in this recipe.

Serving spoon dipped into an easy mostaccioli recipe with cheese and Italian sausage.

Ingredients Needed

  • Mostaccioli pasta – Penne is similar and a bit more common. We usually find Mostaccioli in the blue Barilla boxes.
  • Red pasta sauce – Marinara is fine too.
  • Mozzarella cheese – Or a white Italian blend, but we don’t hesitate to use whatever mixture we have in the refrigerator too.
  • Italian Sausage – Comes with herbs and seasonings so it’s our favorite, but ground beef can be added with some garlic powder, seasoned salt and a sprinkling of Italian seasoning.
  • Parsley – The optional garnish that adds a pop of color and fresh flavor to the finished casserole.
Ingredients to make Mostaccioli are pasta, shredded mozzarella cheese, parsley, Italian sausage and red sauce on a brown counter top.

Baked Mostaccioli Casserole Recipe

  1. Cook pasta. Brown and drain sausage.
  2. Mix one pound cooked pasta, one pound cooked meat, 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese and 4 cups of pasta sauce together.
  3. Spread in a lightly greased 9 x 13″ baking pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle remaining cheese and chopped parsley on top of casserole and return to oven for 5 – 10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

Can This Casserole Be Frozen?

Baked mostaccioli can be mixed up, covered tightly in plastic wrap and then wrapped in foil or covered with a tightly fitting lid OR it can be baked, wrapped the same way and frozen.

I like to keep some extra sauce and cheese handy to mix in the defrosted casserole as it’s heating up because the pasta can dry out a little bit during the freezing and thawing process.

Overhead view of fork resting on a plate of cheesy pasta casserole with plenty of marinara sauce and ground beef on a stack of white plates.

Tips for Making This Easy Pasta Casserole

  • Ground beef, shredded chicken or small pieces of chicken work fine in place of the sausage
  • 4 cups of pasta sauce is 32 ounces
  • If you want to add ricotta cheese pour half of pasta mixture in baking dish then spread layer of ricotta and top with remaining pasta mixture
  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 – 5 days
  • One pound of pasta and meat baked in a casserole should make 12 to 15 servings

How to Make Baked Mostaccioli Pasta

In a skillet over medium high heat brown the Italian sausage while the pasta cooks. Drain pasta and add a couple pats of butter to prevent sticking together if desired.

Mix pasta, sausage and sauce together in the pot the pasta was prepared in or in a large mixing bowl.

Cooked mostaccioli pasta with red sauce and cooked and crumbled Italian sausage poured into the large mixing bowl.

Add half of the mozzarella cheese and stir together.

Large mixing bowl with a spoon stirring noodle into a meat, sauce and cheese mixture.

Pour into a lightly greased 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Cover with foil and bake in a 350°F oven for 20 – 30 minutes until the casserole is hot in the center.

Smooth and tubular pasta in a 9 x 13 dish with easy ingredients to make a casserole on a wooden counter top.

To determine when the casserole is done I use a digital meat thermometer to check that the center has reached 145°F. Since all of the ingredients were fully cooked before mixing together and baking the goal is to melt the cheese and serve a hot meal.

Once the casserole is warm through to the center, remove foil and sprinkle remaining 2 cups (or more if you love cheese like we do) over the top of the casserole.

Thick layer of shredded mozzarella cheese sprinkled over top of mostaccioli ready to put in the oven.

Then sprinkle chopped parsley on top and return to the oven for another 5 – 10 minutes until the cheese melts.

Cheese melted over a warm pasta casserole with ground beef, sauce and parsley garnishing the top.

Dig in while it’s warm! We absolutely love how simple this recipe is and how it fits into our busy schedule.

We reheat the leftovers for an even quicker lunch throughout the rest of the week!

Other Easy Meals with Pasta

Baked mostaccioli casserole covered in cheese on white plate.

Baked Mostaccioli Pasta

Servings 12 servings
Author: Jennifer
A generous layer of cheese baked on a simple mixture of Mostaccioli Pasta, red sauce and Italian sausage makes a delicious family meal!
5 from 2 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 pound mostaccioli or penne pasta
  • 1 pound Italian sausage or lean ground beef
  • 36 ounces pasta sauce
  • 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon parsley chopped


  • Brown meat and drain any fat. Prepare pasta as package directs.
    1 pound mostaccioli, 1 pound Italian sausage
  • In a large bowl combine pasta, sausage, pasta sauce and 2 cups cheese. Mix well.
    36 ounces pasta sauce, 4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Spread into greased 13×9 inch baking dish; cover with foil. Bake 20 – 30 minutes at 350°F or until hot and bubbly.
  • Uncover and top with remaining cheese and parsley. Bake 5 minutes longer or until cheese melts.
    1 tablespoon parsley


  • Ground beef, shredded chicken or small pieces of chicken can be substituted for the sausage
  • 4 cups of pasta sauce is 32 ounces
  • Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 – 5 days
  • One pound of pasta and meat baked in a casserole should make 12 to 15 servings


Calories: 401kcalCarbohydrates: 33gProtein: 20gFat: 21gSaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 58mgSodium: 909mgPotassium: 459mgFiber: 2gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 580IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 213mgIron: 2mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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Originally shared on October 2, 2020 with updates made on January 5, 2024.


  1. Yum! Baked pasta is always welcome at our dinner table, especialcarly if there is garlic bread nearby!

  2. 5 stars
    Perfect basic recipe. Definitely important to use a meat and sauce you like, as they lend all the flavour to the dish. I used hot Italian sausage and Classico’s Spicy Red Pepper pasta sauce. I also halved the recipe, then added about 2oz baby spinach and about a half cup of leftover canned mushrooms I had (both added to the sausage near the end of its cooking time). Will be making this again, and using this recipe whenever I want to use up some extra veg in the fridge!

  3. 5 stars
    Absolutely the easiest and fastest recipe I’ve ever made and I loved it!!! If you can’t make this then hang up ur apron strings lol!! I used marinara sauce and blended Italian cheese instead and it was fantastic!!!

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