This gluten-free pasta bake hits all the notes you want in baked pasta! Creamy tomato sauce, tender gluten-free penne, and lots of melty mozzarella cheese make this the ultimate comfort food.
Why You’ll Love It
An easy, cheesy pasta bake never goes out of style! This is gluten-free comfort food, with sturdy gluten-free penne tucked into a homemade tomato sauce and dressed with plenty of melted cheese. It’s simple to put together and the oven does most of the work. What could be better? Perfect for cool nights, you’ll want to keep this recipe handy. Here’s why you’ll love this cozy baked pasta dish:
- Cheesy and delicious. Two kinds of cheese, but mostly fresh mozzarella, make this dish impossible to resist! Fresh mozzarella is soft and melts so beautifully into the sauce that coats the pasta in this pasta bake.
- Gluten-Free. This is a naturally gluten-free meal when you include gluten-free pasta. You can use regular pasta if you don’t need to keep gluten-free.
- Adaptable. If you like you can add in baby spinach, sauteed mushrooms, or even ground beef to make this bake a bit heartier.
What You’ll Need
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need to grab to make this recipe. The full ingredient amounts and detailed instructions are in the recipe card at the end of this post.
- Gluten-free ziti or penne – I love using Jovial brand penne in this recipe.
- Tomato puree – I use Bionaturae strained tomatoes in this pasta bake, but you can use your favorite brand of tomato sauce (or homemade sauce).
- Fresh mozzarella cheese – Fresh mozzarella comes packaged in water, usually in “pearls”.
- Olive oil – I always use extra virgin olive oil.
- Salt and pepper
- Dried herbs – Oregano and basil.
- Parmesan cheese – Use freshly grated parmesan cheese.
How to Make a Gluten-Free Pasta Bake
You basically create a tomato sauce right in the pan when you make this pasta bake, saving you the time and effort of making a homemade sauce. And it tastes just as good! Here’s how to make this dish:
- Cook pasta: Make the pasta according to the package instructions then place in a lightly oiled baking pan.
- Assemble: Dump in the puree and herbs, then add the mozzarella.
- Bake: Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper, and top with parmesan cheese, then bake for 30 minutes.
- Rest: Rest the pasta bake for a few minutes before serving it.
Tips & Variations
Here’s how to change up this pasta bake if you like:
- Add veggies – You can stir in baby or regular, chopped spinach leaves, diced, cooked red peppers, mushrooms, onions, or other vegetables like zucchini into the pasta.
- Add meat – Add browned, ground beef or vegetarian Beyond Meat to the casserole dish for a heartier meal.
- Use store-bought sauce – I find that using tomato puree and herbs makes a naturally delicious sauce and it could hardly be easier to throw together! However, if you prefer a more “saucy” sauce, you can use a jar of your favorite pre-made sauce.
- Try a different pasta shape – You could use macaroni or shells in this dish with good results. I like to use penne or ziti, but any shaped pasta with “nooks and crannies” for the sauce to seep into should work well. Don’t use a thin noodle like spaghetti, though!
What to Serve with Pasta Bake
All you need to go along with a heaping serving of gluten-free pasta bake is a vegetable or two – keep things easy peasy and go with baby carrots and a side of steamed broccoli like I’ve shown here – and/or a fresh green salad.
For a heartier side for meat-eaters, you could serve pasta bake alongside steak or grilled chicken, or you could make a batch of meatballs.
Storage and Reheating Options
Here’s what to do with any leftover pasta bake:
- Fridge – Placed cooled pasta in an airtight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days. If you use regular pasta you can freeze this dish in an airtight container for up to 3 months, but I don’t recommend freezing gluten-free pasta because it will get mushy when defrosted.
- To Reheat – Reheat this gluten-free pasta bake in a microwave-safe bowl until the cheese is melted and the pasta is heated through, about 2 minutes.
More Yummy Pastas
Gluten-Free Pasta Bake
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta , such as penne or ziti
- 24 ounces tomato puree , or tomato sauce
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Salt and pepper , to taste
- ½ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Make the pasta according to the package instructions. Drain and place in a lightly oiled 9×13-inch baking pan.
- Preheat the oven to 350℉. Dump the tomato puree or sauce onto the pasta, and stir it around to coat the pasta. Stir in the mozzarella cheese and the dried herbs.
- Drizzle with olive oil and liberally season with salt and pepper, then top with parmesan cheese. Place in the oven and bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is melted, about 30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, let rest a few minutes, then serve.