Cheesy Baked Macaroni with slightly sweet Meat Sauce! It’s the easiest macaroni casserole you’ll ever make. The pasta and the meat sauce are cooked in one-pot and baked together with creamy cheese sauce on top.
Course Main Course
Keyword baked pasta, cheesy baked pasta with spaghetti sauce
Melt butter in a saucepan. Add flour. Stir for 1 to 2 minutes. Set heat to low. Slowly pour the milk. Stir until you get a smooth sauce, about 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the grated cheese, stir until just melted. Sprinkle salt and ground black pepper. If the sauce becomes too thick add a little bit more milk, about 2 tablespoons until you get the right consistency. Turn off heat and continue stirring. Set aside.
Pasta and Meat Sauce
Preheat oven to 350F / 180C.
Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Stir-fry garlic and onions until soft and translucent. Add ground meat. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until no longer pink. Stir in fish sauce and red bell pepper. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant.
Pour pasta sauce, tomato paste, and sugar. Stir until well combined. Simmer for five minutes over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add macaroni and pour meat broth. Cover with lid and let it boil for 6 minutes only. Turn off heat. Season with black pepper and salt. Lightly stir.
Assemble in a baking dish in two layers. Spread a thin layer of cheese sauce on the first layer and spread the rest on the top layer (see video). Bake for 20 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve.
Meat: I use pork and beef in this recipe. You can use just one type or both. Ground chicken or turkey are good alternatives.
Beef broth substitute - dissolve 1 pc beef bouillon in 3 cups hot water
Cooking the pasta: Cook the pasta in the meat sauce for 6 MINUTES ONLY. Anything more than that will end up with a soggy pasta after baking in the oven. I recommend using a timer.
If your pot is oven-safe, you can spread the cheese sauce directly on top of the pasta then bake right away. Another time-saver!
Other types of cheese you can use for the sauce: parmesan, Colby, Monterey, edam, Velveeta. Top with mozzarella for ooey-gooey texture. Entirely optional!
To get the right consistency, just remember to have the same amount of fat i.e. butter and flour with the right amount of liquid. So for 2 tablespoons of flour and butter, the minimum amount of milk should be 1 cup up to 1 ¼ cup. Anything less than one cup would create a very thick sauce and anything more would make a runny sauce.
Season with salt and pepper. Seasoning the cheese sauce is sometimes overlooked. Adding a little bit of salt and pepper makes a tastier sauce.