Cheese and Pasta in a Pot

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot is our family’s favorite meal.
It’s red meat sauce, noodles, and copious amounts of cheese baked to melty perfection!

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot Recipe

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot is our family’s go-to recipe.

Along with a couple of other classics, it’s the most requested dish; and people who come over for a meal request this recipe over and over.

It’s exactly what it sounds like… Cheese. Pasta. in a Pot. With copious amounts of red meat sauce and one not so secret ingredient. 

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot

The original recipe makes enough for 12-15 people, so I’ve skimmed it down to 6-8 servings.

One of the most critical parts of this dish is your baking dish. 

I had a tall baking dish (for a big two-pound loaf of bread!) and it worked super well. 

It’s layered, with sour cream in the center, and you need a deep dish to make that happen. 

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The baking dish we use — it’s a clay dish that circulates heat so well. We’re slightly obsessed with it! Click on the photo above to read more about it.

This dish is about 7 inches tall, so you’ve got the height to work with. 

You can use a Le Creuset 5.5 quart Dutch Oven, it works wonderfully!

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot Recipe

How to Make Cheese and Pasta in a Pot

First, you’ll make a red meat sauce.

I use The Easiest Spaghetti Sauce You’ll Ever Make in Under Half an Hour.

While that simmers, boil your pasta.

For this recipe, I used elbow macaroni, because COVID cooking means using what you have! The original recipe calls for shells, and I do prefer shells. They’re magical for holding onto the sauce in the shell part!

Next, we’ll gather the cheese and sour cream.

Cheese and pasta in a pot is a layered dish.

You’ll dump half the noodles into the bottom of your baking dish.

Pour half the sauce over top.

Add a layer of provolone cheese to the meat sauce.

Then, you’ll spread 8 ounces of sour cream over the provolone cheese.

Finally, add the rest of the noodles and sauce, then top with the mozzarella cheese.

Cover, and pop into a 350˚ oven for 20 minutes. (If you’re making the large version of this—bake for 45 minutes to an hour!)

Pasta Bake with Meat Sauce

Y’all. I cannot tell you how wonderfully cheesy, tangy, and delicious this dinner recipe is!

This is one of those meals that instantly gathers people around the table.

When you double this, it makes enough for a large crowd. But, make sure you save some for leftovers. ?

What pairs well with this recipe?

Easy Pasta Bake for a Crowd

Can you make this ahead of time?

Sure! When you go to reheat it, use a cold oven method. Put your covered baking dish into a COLD oven, and then turn the oven to 350˚. Set a timer for 20 minutes, and after 20 minutes, check to see how far along it’s coming. 

You can also make the components ahead of time.

Make the red sauce and store it in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Boil the pasta, drain, and store in an air-tight container in the fridge.

When you’re ready, assemble the Cheese and Pasta in a Pot, and bake accordingly to the instructions below.

I don’t have a clay baking dish, what should I use?

You can use a Le Creuset 5.5 quart Dutch Oven works wonderfully!

Want to make this Keto or Low Carb Friendly?

Swap the noodles out for zucchini! It makes it a little more watery, so it’s best to sauté your zucchini beforehand removing some of the water content in the pan. Then, where you read noodles in the recipe card, just sub in the zucchini. ((I’ve made it this way many times, and I never miss the pasta.))

If you’re into this recipe, give this Angry Lasagna a try!

Angry Lasagna Recipe

Save this graphic to your favorite Pasta board on Pinterest!

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Pasta Bake with Rao's Sauce

Cheese and Pasta in a Pot

5 from 5 reviews
  • Author: Sweetpea
  • Prep Time: 30
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4-6 1x
  • Category: main dish
  • Method: stove to oven
  • Cuisine: italian


  • 1 lb. of hamburger
  • 1 jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (I prefer Rao’s or Prego)
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 1/2 lb. of medium shell pasta (or elbow, penne)
  • 116 oz. tub of sour cream
  • 1/2 lb. of sliced provolone cheese
  • 1/2 lb. of shredded mozzarella


  1. Add 6-8 cups of water in a large pot and bring to a boil. 
  2. In a skillet, brown the ground beef and onions together. Drain the fat if needed.
  3. Pour red sauce into the skillet with the ground beef and onions. 
  4. Using a Microplane, grate the garlic over the skillet.
  5. Stir in Italian seasoning and red wine.
  6. Allow this to simmer for 20 minutes (or while your pasta boils!).
  7. While the sauce is simmering, boil your pasta to just below al dente. (Preheat the oven now too! 350˚)
  8. Once the pasta is cooked, drain really well.
  9. While your pasta drains, get out the provolone and mozzarella cheese, and sour cream. 
  10. In your greased baking dish, add half the noodles.
  11. Top the noodles with half the red sauce.
  12. Top with provolone cheese slices.
  13. Spread sour cream over the provolone cheese.
  14. Pour the rest of the noodles on top of the sour cream.
  15. Top with red sauce.
  16. Sprinkle mozzarella on top.
  17. Cover with foil or a lid, and bake for 25-35 minutes at 350˚.
  18. During the last 5-8 minutes, remove the top and allow the cheese to brown and bubble. (You may need to crank your broiler on for a couple of minutes!)
  19. Allow this to sit on the counter for 15 minutes before scooping and serving!

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In closing, what recipes does your family request over and over?! Tell me in the comments below!

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  1. Sometimes all you need really is cheese and pasta in a pot!! Sounds like what I’m craving a lot of times after a long day – will be trying your version very soon!

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