Cheesy baked pesto pasta



25 min


8 to 10 servings

* PLUS Cooking time: 25 minutes, Baking Time: 20 minutes


  • 4 cups fusilli or penne pasta , about 3/4 450-g box
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 500 g lean ground beef , chicken or turkey
  • 1 onion , chopped
  • 796-mL can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup pesto
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
  • 3 cups grated mozzarella , provolone or fortina cheese


  • Place oven rack just above oven centre. Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Lightly oil a 9×13-inch (3-L) baking dish or coat with cooking spray. Bring a large saucepan or pasta pot of salted water to a boil. When water is boiling, stir in and cook pasta according to package directions, usually from 9 to 13 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat oil in a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Crumble in meat. Cook, stirring often, until meat is lightly browned, from 8 to 10 minutes. Drain off and discard any fat that has collected in pan. Stir in onion and cook, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, including juice, salt and pepper. Simmer gently, stirring often, until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley and pesto. Taste and stir in additional parsley and pesto, if you wish.
  • Drain pasta and place in a large mixing bowl. Stir in sauce, Parmesan and half of mozzarella. Spread evenly in prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. Place on rack just above oven centre in 400F (200C) oven. Bake until cheese is golden, from 18 to 20 minutes. Serve right away with a tossed green salad.

Nutrition (per serving)

  • Calories
  • 399,
  • Protein
  • 22.9 g,
  • Carbohydrates
  • 31.1 g,
  • Fat
  • 20.3 g,
  • Fibre
  • 2.7 g,
  • Sodium
  • 780 mg.

Wonderful aromas of baking pasta will sharpen appetites; so round out this delicious Italian dinner with hot garlic bread and a green salad.