Easy cheese and tomato pasta bake for nights where you want something delicious and comforting to eat but can’t be bothered to spend ages in the kitchen.
I often use my roasted tomato sauce recipe for this pasta bake too but I’ve included a simple tomato sauce recipe here too.
- Olive oil.
- Canned tomatoes.
- Herbs. I used rosemary, thyme and dried Italian herbs.
- Smoked paprika.
- Chilli flakes.
- Balsamic vinegar.
- Red wine. Stock or broth can be substituted.
- Salt and pepper.
- Pasta. Any short pasta shape will work. I used penne but macaroni, fusilli and orecchiette will also be delicious.
- Cheese. I used mozzarella and cheddar cheese but any good melting cheese will work well.
How to make cheese and tomato pasta bake
- Cook the pasta: Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil then add your pasta and cook until al dente.
- Make the tomato sauce: Cook onion and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent. Add tomatoes, Balsamic vinegar, seasoning and stock or wine. Allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes while the pasta cooks. Drain the cooked pasta, reserving 1 cup of cooking water. Add the pasta to the tomato sauce and use the cooking water to thin out the sauce if necessary. Transfer half of the pasta to a baking dish then top with half of the mozzarella cheese and cheddar. Cover with the remaining pasta and cheese.
- Bake: Place in a pre-heated oven to bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown. Remove from the oven and serve.
What pasta is best for pasta bake?
Any short pasta shape works well in pasta bake. The following will work well:
Can you freeze pasta bake?
Pasta bake freezes very well. To make ahead, assemble the pasta bake then cover well (before baking) with a layer of parchment paper and wrap tightly in plastic wrap in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months and bake from frozen. To freeze leftover pasta bake or baked pasta bake, place cooled pasta in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw completely and re-heat in the oven.
Pasta bake recipes
- Pizza pasta bake
- Creamy mushroom pasta bake
- Classic baked mac and cheese
- Chicken Cordon Bleu pasta bake
- Roasted butternut and mozzarella pasta bake
Easy cheese and tomato pasta bake
for the tomato sauce
- 2 x 400g (14 oz) cans cherry tomatoes
- 1 red onion finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika optional
- pinch of chilli flakes optional
- 2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons sugar to taste (optional)
- ½ cup vegetable stock/red wine
- salt & pepper to taste
for the pasta bake
- 500 g (1lb) short pasta of your choice (I used penne)
- 1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
- fresh basil to serve
- Pre-heat the oven to 200ºC/400ºF.
- Fry the onion and garlic in a splash of olive oil until soft and translucent.
- Add the tomatoes, herbs, spices, Balsamic, sugar and stock/wine and allow to simmer for 10-15 minutes while the pasta cooks. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta's cooking water.
- When the pasta is cooked and the sauce is reduced, combine and mix well. Add some of the cooking water saved from the pasta to loosen the pasta and sauce a bit.
- Transfer half the pasta mix to a baking dish, add half of the cheese. Repeat with the remaining pasta and cheese.
- Place the pasta in the pre-heated oven and allow to bake for 15-20 minutes until the cheese on top is golden brown.
- Remove and allow to stand for 5 minutes before serving with fresh basil.
Can fresh cherry tomatoes be used in place of canned?
yes, you can.
Hi, what size casserole dish is this recipe for?
I used a 26cm skillet.
Prob says somewhere but can’t see! How many does this serve please? Guessing about 6?
In the recipe card you’ll see it says Servings: 6. 🙂
How long do you cook this when cooking straight from frozen? I have made fresh and it is delicious
I would cook for 30-45 minutes.
Hi Can I make this ahead, so cook the pasta and sauce, let everything cool, add the cooled pasta to the cooled sauce, layer with the cheese in a baking dish and then wrap and store in the fridge for 24hrs and then bake it? I have a feeling the pasta might end up too soggy if I do this?
You can assemble the pasta in the baking dish completely then cover and pop in the fridge overnight. Just uncover and bake!
I’ve never seen canned cherry tomatoes, can I substitute a large can of chopped tomatoes?
Yes, you can.
I must say…I made this and it was absolutely lovely!
Loved this simple recipe! I added bacon and red capsicum! Delicious! Many thanks for posting!
Love this, really easy to make and lots of flavour too. I added 2 pieces of white fish and some king prawns, delicious! Such a light yet filling meal. Thanks for sharing xx
Delicious, thanks for your comment Jenny!
Loved this, so easy and loved this simple tomato sauce.
What brand of cherry tomatoes did you use in this recipe.
Hi Jackie. I use whatever I can find at my supermarket that looks good.
Laura | Tutti Dolci
There’s nothing better or more satisfying than an easy pasta bake – this is the perfect weeknight meal!
Right? I totally agree!