Baked Green Bean Penne

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Baked Green Bean PenneWhen I was a kid, if it was a weekend, chances are we were at my Italian grandmother’s house for Sunday gravy, lovingly loaded up with sweet fennel sausage and of course, meatballs. The table was adorned with incredible sides and a bevy of sensible accoutrement, bright, crisp green beans, ricotta for dolloping, and there was seemingly no end to extra gravy to take a plate over the top. Memories. Nearly all of them, here in one casserole.

  • Yield: 10 Servings
  • Total Time: 1 Hour


  • 1 lb penne pasta
  • 2 Tbsp + 1 tsp salt, divided
  • 12 oz fresh green beans, trimmed, cut into 1-inch segments
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • ½ lb bulk Italian sausage, or remove from casings
  • ¼ lb ground beef
  • 2 28-oz can pureed or crushed tomatoes
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded or grated
  • ½ lb mozzarella, shredded
  • ½ cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
How to Make It
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil over high heat. Add pasta and 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure the pasta does not stick to the pot. Add green beans to the pot and continue to boil for 5 minutes. Drain the pasta and beans completely in a colander over the sink and set aside,
  3. Place a skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add sausage and ground,
  4. beef, breaking it up with a spatula into small bite-sized chunks. Sauté until the sausage browns, about 6–8 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
  6. Empty the skillet contents into a large mixing bowl. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes (if using), ricotta, Parmesan, and remaining teaspoon of salt, and stir thoroughly. Add the drained pasta and beans to the bowl and fold in.
  7. Coat the bottom and sides of a baking dish with the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Scrape the pasta mixture from the mixing bowl into the baking dish, and top with mozzarella. Transfer the into the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until the cheese on top is golden brown. Allow the ziti to rest for 10 minutes before serving hot scoops topped with fresh basil.

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