Caprese Pasta Bake

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    A delicious caprese pasta bake covered in creamy tomato sauce and bubbly mozzarella. This easy 30-minute meal is the perfect way to use up fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden! 

    caprese pasta bake dish on counter

    Cheesy baked caprese pasta

    Today I’m going to share a super yummy recipe with you…a caprese pasta bake! Caprese salad is my absolute favorite and this dish combines those delicious flavors with my love of pasta. It reminds me of baked ziti, but with a caprese twist. It’s creamy, cheesy and full of flavor from the fresh tomatoes and basil.

    This is a great vegetarian dish to make for Meatless Monday, although you could absolutely add ground beef or chicken if you want to bulk it up a little. My family doesn’t even miss the meat and always raves over this meal. Trust me, yours will too! So many delicious flavors wrapped up in this recipe!

    noodles and sauce in metal pot

    Tips + variations

    • Salt the water. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt to the pot of water when boiling the pasta. It’s a simple way to pack in a little more flavor and trust me, it makes a difference!
    • Cook noodles al dente. I usually boil the noodles until they are cooked al dente. This way they don’t get too mushy after baking in the oven. They come out perfectly tender and delicious!
    • Add meat. Add 1/2 pound cooked ground beef, chicken or Italian sausage to add more heartiness to this meal.
    • Lighten it up. Swap the heavy cream for half and half, or leave it out all together.
    • Homemade marinara. If you have the time, making a homemade marinara sauce can really take this dish up a notch. It tastes so fresh and delicious!
    • Finish it off. For the ultimate caprese flavor, add a drizzle of balsamic glaze right before serving.

    noodles, tomatoes and cheese in baking dish

    How to freeze pasta caprese

    Similar to other baked pasta dishes like lasagna or baked spaghetti, this recipe is a great freezer meal. Because it makes a lot, I usually always freeze half to pull out for an easy dinner.

    This recipe works best when frozen before baking. Simply boil the noodles, then mix with the sauce and prepare in the baking dish as directed. Let cool completely, then cover the dish tightly with foil. Place in the freezer for up to 3 months. When ready to enjoy, thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake in the oven according to the instructions.

    baked caprese pasta in white dish

    More delicious pasta dishes:

    baked caprese pasta in white dish

    Caprese Pasta Bake

    Course: Main Course
    Cuisine: Italian
    Keyword: caprese pasta bake
    Cook Time: 30 minutes
    Total Time: 30 minutes
    Servings: 8
    Calories: 302
    Author: Jamielyn Nye
    A delicious caprese pasta bake covered in creamy tomato sauce and bubbly mozzarella. This easy 30-minute meal is the perfect way to use up fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden!   

    Ingredients

    • 1 pound ziti pasta , penne or rigatoni
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 2 cups marinara sauce
    • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 1/3 cup heavy cream
    • 2-5 ounces mozzarella cheese , cut into 1/2 inch cubes
    • 1 cup grape tomatoes , halved
    • fresh basil leaves , chopped

    Instructions

    • Preheat oven to 350°F and spray a 9x9" baking dish with nonstick spray. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of water with 1 teaspoon salt. Once pasta is fully cooked, drain and place back in pot.
      noodles boiling in pot of water
    • Once noodles are done cooking, add in the sauce, heavy cream and parmesan cheese.
      noodles and sauce in metal pot
    • Stir in mozzarella and tomatoes (saving some for the top). Then pour pasta mixture into baking dish and top with remaining cheese and tomatoes.
      noodles, tomatoes and cheese in baking dish
    • Bake in oven for 20-30 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. Top with freshly chopped basil. Enjoy!
      caprese pasta bake dish on counter

    Video

    Notes

    Variation: To make this recipe a little heartier, add 1/2 pound cooked ground beef, chicken or Italian sausage. To make it lighter, you can leave out the heavy cream or use half and half. 
    Freezer instructions: This recipe freezes well (and I usually freeze half since it makes a lot). I recommend freezing before baking. Place in a foil container and then cover with foil. Freeze up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Then bake as directed. 
    Update: This recipe was updated on 6/25 (and is slightly different than the video) to make it easier. I simply cut the the heavy cream and cheese from 1/2 cup to 1/3 cup and mix it into the pot of noodles instead of a separate pot.

    Nutrition

    Calories: 302kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 23mg | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 391mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 650IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 110mg | Iron: 1mg
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    spoonful of caprese pasta

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