This easy baked spaghetti has ground beef, marinara sauce, and a middle layer of creamy pesto. If you are like us, this will become your new favorite meal! Consider swapping the ground beef for sausage, ground chicken or ground turkey. To make this meatless, remove the beef – the spaghetti will still be delicious. You could also add some cooked vegetables like mushrooms and zucchini.
1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or linguini
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
6 cups marinara sauce, see our homemade marinara sauce recipe (or substitute with two 26-ounce jars store-bought sauce)
3/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup basil pesto, see our homemade basil pesto recipe
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 cup)
Salt and fresh ground black pepper
Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 3-quart baking dish or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, add the pasta then follow package directions, but cook 1 to 2 minutes less than the package calls for. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet with sides. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the ground beef and cook until browned, about 10 minutes. As the beef cooks, use a wooden spoon to break the beef up into small pieces in the pan. Season with 1/4 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Drain excess fat from the beef.
Pour in the marinara sauce and cook until heated through. Take the pan off of the heat and add the cooked and drained pasta. Toss well then taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, stir sour cream and basil pesto together until well blended.
Spoon half of the pasta into the baking dish. Spread the sour cream and pesto mixture over the pasta and scatter with half of the mozzarella cheese. Top with the remaining pasta, lightly press everything down into the baking dish and then scatter spread remaining mozzarella cheese on top.
Place the baking dish onto an aluminum-lined baking dish (just in case any sauce drips over the sides of the baking dish). Bake until the cheese has melted and the sauce is bubbling; about 30 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes before serving.