20 Baked Pasta Recipes For Easy Weeknight Dinners

Most of us know and love baked lasagna, the cheesy one-pan Italian dish that bubbles in the oven for an hour, give or take. But other baked pasta dishes? Maybe not so much, mostly due to a lack of familiarity than a dearth of enthusiasm. Fortunately, our innovative recipe developers here at Tasting Table are addressing that straight on, with a plethora of baked pasta recipes ranging from simple to slightly complex, vegetarian to meat-embracing, and pretty much always filled with cheesy deliciousness. 

We've rounded up 20 of our favorite baked pasta recipes for easy weeknight dinners and are happily sharing the love. Though stovetop pasta has its well-deserved spot in cooking repertoires across the globe, there's just something satisfying about a hands-off approach once the dish is assembled and popped into a preheated oven. When baking, the flavors intensify, while spices, herbs, and all kinds of cheeses blend in harmonious culinary glory. That goes double for tubular pastas, where all that saucy goodness slips and slides though the tunnels and crevices.

From exceptional interpretations of classic lasagnas to seafood-stuffed shells, pumpkin feta penne, Tuscan crespelle, and red pepper gnocchi, these recipes open new avenues of inspiration. If you want something more familiar or down-to-earth, check out our twist on Buffalo chicken lasagna, baked spaghetti, or a "dilly tuna" casserole with egg noodles. 

1. Shortcut Chicken And Spinach Lasagna

Starting our collection is a lasagna recipe that veers considerably from standard red-sauce renditions with ground meat. For this shortcut chicken and spinach lasagna dish, recipe developer Leah Maroney leads us on a journey through the pantry and fridge, rounding up ingredients for a creamy cheese sauce, while keeping it simple with cooked and shredded rotisserie chicken. You'll be using the likes of roasted garlic, heavy cream, Gouda, Parmesan, frozen spinach, and no-boil lasagna noodles. Don't miss Maroney's intriguing tip on making single-serving lasagna pinwheels to freeze for later.

Recipe: Shortcut Chicken And Spinach Lasagna

2. Baked Creamy Red Pepper Penne Pasta

Penne routinely hovers near the top of favorite pasta shapes, a fact not lost on recipe developer Miriam Hahn. With this make-ahead baked pasta recipe, Hahn provides a blueprint for successfully creating her baked creamy red pepper penne pasta dish. There's lots of cheesy dairy involved, along with deep flavors from broiled red peppers, bringing a light smoky flavor to the penne party. While waiting for the grand finale, consider serving an Italian antipasto platter, and don't forget a fresh baguette or rustic ciabatta loaf.

Recipe: Baked Creamy Red Pepper Penne Pasta

3. White Sauce Chicken And Brussels Sprouts Pasta Bake

Despite its long-held position low in the vegetable hierarchy, the cruciferous Brussels sprout has come a long way, cropping up in countless recipes offering new renditions. That's especially true at the hands of Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye, who meticulously created this white sauce chicken and Brussels sprouts pasta bake. The dish is truly transformative for the round green cuties, which are caramelized and accompanied with chopped bacon, nutmeg, Dijon mustard, fusilli pasta, chicken, and more, folded into a lusciously creamy garlic-infused white sauce.

Recipe: White Sauce Chicken And Brussels Sprouts Pasta Bake

4. Cheesy Gnocchi And Roasted Pepper Bake

Veering considerably from other pastas, gnocchi derives from potatoes mixed with flour and eggs. But homemade gnocchi isn't necessary with this cheesy gnocchi and roasted pepper bake recipe from Tasting Table developer Jennine Rye. Instead, you'll be using store-bought gnocchi and putting your efforts elsewhere. That means seasoning and roasting a lot of lovelies on the red spectrum, including red onion, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes, then blending everything into a smooth, aromatic sauce. It all goes into a baking pan, topped with thick slices of fresh mozzarella. 

Recipe: Cheesy Gnocchi And Roasted Pepper Bake 

5. 3-Cheese Mushroom Mac And Cheese

This three-cheese mushroom mac and cheese dish from Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye is truly an international affair — at least when it comes to the cheese. The three varieties hail from different countries: cheddar from England, Gruyère from Switzerland, and Parmesan with roots in Italy. This recipe expertly marries the famous cheeses with garlic-sauteed chestnut mushrooms, Worcestershire sauce, mustard powder, nutmeg, and a few more surprises. Rye teases swapping out macaroni noodles with other types of pasta, including cavatappi, which has a springier spiral shape.

Recipe: 3-Cheese Mushroom Mac And Cheese

6. White Spinach And Artichoke Lasagna

Traditional lasagna lovers may balk at this twist, but there's good reason to push back. The innovative white spinach and artichoke lasagna from recipe developer Jennine Rye falls in the realm of artistic license while still nodding to the classic recipe. The two namesake veggies join a creamy white béchamel sauce, with no tomatoes anywhere in sight. With four cheeses and no meat, this is considered a vegetarian dish. Nevertheless, you'll find it hearty and satisfying, with significant health boosts from the nutrient-rich spinach and artichokes.

Recipe: White Spinach And Artichoke Lasagna

7. Roasted Pumpkin Feta Pasta

If you can't imagine pumpkin and feta peacefully sharing the same space, it might be time to think outside the pan. That's where Tasting Table recipe developer Jennine Rye gifts us with this roasted pumpkin feta pasta recipe. You'll be making a smooth sauce out of cooked pumpkin, feta, roasted garlic, and pasta water, then adding aromatic herbs such as sage, thyme, and nutmeg. From there, build your baked masterpiece with fresh spinach, al dente penne pasta, extra cubed pumpkin, toasted pine nuts, and some earthy extras along the way.

Recipe: Roasted Pumpkin Feta Pasta

8. Tuscan Spinach And Ricotta Crespelle

A big part of exploring regional cuisines is embracing the unknown. If you've yet to discover crespelle, you certainly aren't alone. Though technically not a pasta, crespelle routinely functions as one, replacing various pasta shapes in Italian dishes such as lasagna and cannelloni. It's essentially a Tuscan crepe, which recipe developer Jessica Morone expertly employs in this baked Tuscan spinach and ricotta crespelle dish. You'll learn to make these crepes from scratch, filling them with cheesy garlicky goodness, highlighted by an unexpected dash of nutmeg. 

Recipe: Tuscan Spinach And Ricotta Crespelle

9. Creamy Seafood-Stuffed Shells

Who questions whether red sauce and pasta shells go with seafood? Not us, at least after checking out this creamy seafood-stuffed shells recipe from Tasting Table developer Michelle McGlinn. We're not talking fish here, which admittedly could present textural issues when stuffed inside saucy shells. Even better, this dish centers on crustacean kings of the ocean: shrimp, crab, and maybe even lobster for an extra splurge. You'll need jumbo shells as well as everyday ingredients including Old Bay seasoning, cream cheese, lemon juice, canned tomato products, and a generous portion of cognac.

Recipe: Creamy Seafood-Stuffed Shells

10. Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli

Digging deeper into the intricate world of Italian baked pastas, this recipe stars a tasty tubular pasta famous in Chicago. Fortunately, Tasting Table recipe creator Michelle McGlinn is a native of the Windy City and shares her take on bubbly cheese mostaccioli. The dish is baked and served as a meaty tomato-sauce casserole, similar in some ways to penne or ziti. In McGlinn's rendition, you'll be working with Italian sausage, ground beef, canned San Marzano tomatoes, two types of cheese, and the classic Italian-spice trio of oregano, rosemary, and thyme.

Recipe: Bubbly Cheesy Mostaccioli

11. Baked Feta Pasta

After social media went all in on simple pasta dishes, recipe developer Ting Dalton created her own version of a baked feta recipe, combining ingredients from the Mediterranean. As Dalton notes, nothing but goodness comes from mixing perky cherry tomatoes, sweet fragrant basil, and creamy, salty feta cheese. With just five ingredients, plus sea salt, black pepper, and your choice of pasta, this dish comes together in about 40 minutes, mostly in your oven. This recipe recommends cavatappi pasta, but elbow macaroni works just as well.

Recipe: Baked Feta Pasta

12. Easy Baked Spaghetti

This easy baked spaghetti dish by recipe developer Stephanie Rapone is definitely simple, employing many standard ingredients. However, you'll need a bit more time with this one, as the prepping, chopping, boiling, and baking process takes around 2 hours. About 40 minutes of that time is hands-off while your delicious creation bubbles and bakes inside the oven. If it makes you feel any better, this is unlike any spaghetti dish you've had before, primarily due to the divinely creamy béchamel sauce you'll make with your own two hands.

Recipe: Easy Baked Spaghetti

13. Classic Baked Zita

Something about the word ziti makes you step a little lighter, tossing out Italian words like "mangia" and "gusto." Though Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn didn't invent the word or the pasta, she sure knows how to cook with it. In this classic baked ziti recipe, she merges those smooth tubular titans of Italian cooking with creamy ricotta cheese, sweet Italian sausage, a tangy tomato sauce, and yet more cheese from, you guessed it, Italy. There's also dry red wine in the equation, plus a luscious fresh mozzarella topping.

Recipe: Classic Baked Ziti

14. Kale Lasagna

Ah, kale — the super-nutritious leafy green that some people love to hate. But honestly, on its own, the earthy, peppery flavor and cruciferous crunch of raw kale is nothing to shun. That goes double, even quadruple, for its presence in this kale lasagna creation by recipe developer Miriam Hahn. Unlike many lasagna renditions, this one leaves out the meat in deference to hearty mushrooms sauteed with garlic and a generous amount of thinly sliced, de-stemmed kale. Plenty of ricotta, mozzarella, and marinara place this dish clearly in the well-loved lasagna category.

Recipe: Kale Lasagna

15. Simple Mac And Cheese (With Crunchy Topping)

When it comes to childhood favorites, recipe developer Christina Musgrave understands they're sometimes better left unadorned, regardless of your age. Perhaps that's why she gifts us this simple mac and cheese recipe with a delightfully crunchy topping. It's definitely an upgrade from boxed versions, ditching the orange powder for a hand-crafted sauce made with genuine cheddar cheese. Then there's the crowning ingredient: crunchy Ritz-style cracker crumbs. Elbow macaroni keeps things classic, but consider trying shellbows, a hybrid of shell and elbow pastas.

Recipe: Simple Mac And Cheese (With Crunchy Topping)

16. Classic Lasagna Bolognese

Culinary innovation is exciting and inspirational, but sometimes we crave the comforts of everyday cooking. With that in mind, it's back to basics with this classic lasagna bolognese from recipe developer Ting Dalton. To keep your taste buds intrigued, a homemade creamy béchamel sauce is alternately layered with the tomato-based bolognese. Then there's an infusion of red wine and what Dalton calls the secret ingredient: Worcestershire sauce. Minced or ground beef and pork bulk it up, but feel free to choose just one per your preference. 

Recipe: Classic Lasagna Bolognese 

17. Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

Here's where lasagna dances to the beat of its own cheesy music. If you love Buffalo chicken, whether wings or sauce, this one's for you. Straight from the kitchen of recipe developer and registered dietitian Kristen Carli comes this Buffalo chicken lasagna. It features shredded white-meat chicken, a packet of Ranch dressing mix, no-boil lasagna noodles, and three cheeses, including blue cheese crumbles, an unusual addition for lasagna. Of course, you'll be mixing in a bottle of genuine store-bought Buffalo sauce too. Monday night football is calling.

Recipe: Buffalo Chicken Lasagna

18. Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake

Chicken, spinach, and short tubular pasta, what more could you want? How about a creamy white sauce, sun dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, diced chicken breast, and a generous toss-in of crispy bacon lardons? That's what you get when you follow recipe developer Jennine Rye in creating a dish that's tasty, wholesome, and filling. Her creamy chicken spinach pasta bake has you prepping for around 15 minutes, followed by 30 hands-off minutes as everything comes together inside the oven.

Recipe: Creamy Chicken Spinach Pasta Bake

19. Dilly Tuna Casserole

The heyday for tuna casseroles may have peaked decades ago, but they haven't left the building. As a consistent occupant of many pantries, canned tuna is one of the most convenient ingredients for quick dinners. That's why Tasting Table recipe developer Michelle McGlinn is onto something with her cheekily named dilly tuna casserole. She retains the "cheap and easy" approach to casserole cooking, using canned soup, frozen peas, packaged fried onions, and uncooked egg noodles. But a next-gen mentality pokes through the past, bringing fresh dill and Dijon mustard to the party.

Recipe: Dilly Tuna Casserole

20. Mixed Mushroom Lasagna

Rounding off our collection of baked pastas for easy weeknight dinners, we have a divine mixed mushroom lasagna from recipe developer Michelle McGlinn. This might be the cheesiest of them all, with an added oomph from three umami-rich mushroom varieties. We're talking chanterelle, porcini, and cremini shrooms, plus a fresh thyme-based béchamel sauce, and a marvelous mix of fontina, ricotta, and mozzarella cheeses. Tips include caramelizing the mushrooms first in the skillet, and "shingling" the lasagna noodles before layering to prevent them from sticking.

Recipe:Mixed Mushroom Lasagna