How to Make Baked Pasta: Our Favorite Recipes & More

Most of your favorite pasta dishes start out the same way: by bringing a large pot of salted water to boil. Of course, we stand by this tried and true method, but for busy nights when you’re craving a hands-off meal, there’s another way. You can make pasta oven by baking it in a pan with water. The best part is that all of your other ingredients cook at the same. You’ll end up with a flavorful pasta bake and minimal cleanup.

How to make pasta in the oven 

Choose the right pan 

Put your half sheets away! To make pasta in the oven you need a deep baking dish. The pasta will bubble as it bakes, and you don’t want any sauce to overflow in your oven. You’ll also need space to reach into the dish with a spoon and mix things around, so a little extra room is good. We recommend a 9x 15-inch baking pan. Our Blue Apron ready-to-cook meals come with a recyclable aluminum tray for baking. 

Add enough liquid 

Even though we’re not boiling a pot, our pasta still needs liquid to cook. In your baking dish, combine your noodles with all of your other ingredients and around ½ a cup of water. The noodles will absorb the water as they cook. The final dish will be saucy and moist, but not watery. 

Don’t forget the seasoning 

When you cook pasta on the stovetop, you add salt to season the inside of the noodles. The same principle applies when you’re making pasta in the oven. Create a flavorful base for the noodles with seasoning. Don’t skimp on the salt. The great thing about making pasta in the oven is that the noodles absorb flavors from your other ingredients too. The entire dish will bake up into a saucy, creamy, delight. 

Recipes for baking noodles in the oven

Oven-Baked Three Cheese Lasagna with Pesto & Spinach

pasta in the oven

This crowd-pleasing lasagna features layers of ricotta and fontina, fresh pasta sheets, tomato sauce, and mirepoix—a classic mixture of carrots, celery, and onion. It’s finished off with melty mozzarella and a drizzle of our herbaceous basil pesto.

Oven-Baked Hoisin Turkey Meatballs & Udon with Green Beans

udon noodles baked in the oven

Delightfully chewy udon noodles and green beans are coated in a spicy-sweet combination of soy glaze and sambal oelek before being baked in the oven with togarashi turkey meatballs. A drizzle of slightly sweet hoisin sauce and garnish of crispy onions round out the dish.

Oven-Baked Salsa Verde Orzo & Eggs with Feta, Tomatoes & Spinach

orzo pasta baked in the oven

Rich eggs are nestled in a bed of orzo, juicy tomatoes, and spinach all coated in our herbaceous salsa verde. You’ll top the dish off with tangy feta and bright pickled peppers.

Oven-Baked Romesco Beef & Ditali Pasta with Spinach & Tomatoes

Bake tender beef, ditali pasta, and vegetables in a bold tomato and romesco sauce—a smoky, Spanish-style sauce made with almonds, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, and garlic. You’ll finish the dish off by stirring in tangy crème fraîche before topping with crunchy almonds.

Oven-Baked Sweet Chili Udon & Vegetables with Coconut Chips & Sesame Seeds

For this dish, you’ll coat tender udon noodles, broccoli, and green beans in a sweet and spicy combination of soy glaze, sweet chili sauce, sambal oelek, and more.

Oven-Baked Pesto Chicken & Orzo with Spinach, Tomatoes & Ricotta

Cook tender bites of Italian-seasoned chicken over a bed of orzo pasta, spinach, and juicy tomatoes, before finishing the dish with a dollop of creamy ricotta.

Try this method at home with Blue Apron. Our ready-to-cook meals include everything you need to make pasta in the oven, including the pan.

3 Ways to Improve your Pantry Pasta

A pantry pasta is always there for you. Even if you don’t particularly feel like cooking, you can make a satisfying dinner with a few basic ingredients on hand.

The formula is simple. Our favorite pantry pastas start with noodles, whatever alliums you have around (garlic, onions, and shallots are all invited to the party), and pretty much any green vegetable. Start with a little olive oil, salt, and red pepper flakes, and you’ve got an easy dinner ready to go. 

When we feel like transforming this dish into something special, we like to add a fun topping. These toppings bring in more texture and flavor. They can turn a humble weeknight dinner into a rustic main that could happily grace the table at a dinner party. 

pantry pasta with breadcrumbs
A simple pasta topped with breadcrumbs

The best part is, the fun doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve learned how to make these toppings you can use them to add flavor and oomph to salads, steaks, and roasted vegetables. Watch the video to see chef Lili Dagan demonstrate how it’s done, and find the topping recipes below. 

Three ways to take your pantry pasta to the next level 

Toasted breadcrumbs 

Garlicky breadcrumbs will add a spicy crunch to pasta, roasted cauliflower, or salads. Follow step three in the recipe above to learn how to make this simple topping at home. You can make this at home with flaky Panko breadcrumbs, or make your own bread crumbs by throwing some stale bread in the food processor. 

Fried herbs 

Fried herbs, nuts, and brown butter instantly bring rich fall flavors and a pleasant crunch to any dish. These topping pairs beautifully with pasta, but would also turn roasted squash into a stunning side. Our recipe starts with fried sage, but you could substitute sage for another hearty herb, like rosemary or thyme. 

Lemon caper compound butter

Compound butter can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer. If you already have a batch chilled, adding it to pasta is as simple as slicing off a piece, melting it in a pan, and then tossing noodles to coat. If you don’t, you can mix up a batch as you’re making dinner, and then save the rest for your next steak dinner. Adding this lemon caper butter to noodles adds a silky text and a bright pop of lemon caper flavor. 

Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more tips from our chefs.

What Is Cascatelli Pasta?

cascatelli noodles
Photo credit: Scott Gordon Bleicher

The name cascatelli comes from the Italian word for “waterfalls.” Take one look at these rippling strands of pasta and you’ll see why. 

All those ripples aren’t just there for beauty. This pasta was invented by Dan Pashman, the host and creator of the Sporkful podcast, who designed it with three key elements in mind.

dan pashman with cascatelli
Dan Pashman in the Sfoglini factory, Photo credit: Scott Gordon Bleicher

The first, “sauceability” is a term introduced to the pasta lexicon by Pashman. It refers to a noodle’s ability to grab and hold onto sauce. The ruffles and ridges of each cascatelli noodle hug sauce tightly, creating a perfect dish of pasta where each bite is composed of the ideal ratio of sauce to noodle.  

Pashman also craved a noodle with perfect forkability and toothsinkability. His ideal pasta is easy to eat with a fork. It can be stabbed and lifted without noodles slipping all around the plate. Toothsinkability refers to the satisfying texture of each bite.

Pashman partnered with Sfoglini Pasta to bring this new noodle into the world. Sfoglini Pasta is an artisanal pasta company founded in Brooklyn in 2012. Co-creators Steve Gonzalez and Scott Ketchum share a serious passion for pasta. Gonzales worked as a chef for over 14 years, creating the handmade pasta for beloved New York restaurants like Hearth, Roberta’s, and Frankies Sputino. At Sfoglini, he oversees all things culinary, ensuring their pastas match the standards of any high-end kitchen. Ketchum oversees the creative side of the brand, drawing on his 18 years of experience as a designer in New York and San Francisco. Today, Sfoglini produces over 25 types of pasta, including cascatelli, in their Hudson Valley factory. Each batch of cascatelli is extruded through a bronze die, which creates a slightly rough surface that helps even more sauce cling to these noodles.

blue apron cascatelli dish
Creamy Calabrian Shrimp & Cascatelli

To complement the unique texture of cascatelli, the Blue Apron team created a recipe Creamy Calabrian Shrimp & Cascatelli with Salsa Verde Zucchini. After reviewing the recipe, Dan Pashman approves:

Ever since I invented cascatelli, people have been asking me what they should cook with it. I think sauces that are thick and/or creamy are fantastic, because the shape holds those sauces so well between its ruffles. Preparations with big, stabbable chunks like cut up vegetables or shrimp are also great, because cascatelli is so hearty and forkable, so you can assemble great bites by stabbing the pasta along with those other chunky components. That’s why I’m thrilled that the chefs at Blue Apron came up with a preparation that is thick, creamy, and chunky—and full of spice and flavor too! It’s an ideal dish to highlight cascatelli’s sauceability, forkability, and toothsinkability.

For cascatelli and countless other delights delivered right to your door, order your next Blue Apron box now.

Pecorino Romano vs. Parmesan: Everything You’ll Want To Know

parmesan cheese
Simply beautiful

There’s a whole wide world of cheeses. Some are soft and mild, while others are extremely pungent. On the grand scale of Brie to Limburger, Pecorino and Parmesan can seem pretty similar. Both are hard salty cheeses from Italy, and they’re both frequently in the mix with pasta. However, they’re not the same cheese. Read on to learn the difference between Pecorino Romano and Parmesan. 

Pecorino Romano vs. Parmesan 

If you lay a slice of Pecorino Romano next to a slice of Parmesan, you’ll notice some differences right away. Pecorino is whiter and slightly softer. Parmesan is more golden, and very hard and dry. Now take a taste. Overall, Parmesan has a more nutty flavor. The super-aged Parmesans can even have a hint of caramel flavor. Pecorino will be brighter, with more grassy flavor and sharp saltiness. These differences are a result of different production methods. 


Parmesan is made from cow’s milk. It must be aged for at least 12 months. The aging process helps create the nutty, complex flavor that Parmesan is known for. This hard, crumbly cheese gets its name from the region in which it’s produced. True Parmigiano-Reggiano must be made in one of five provinces within Emilia-Romagna. 

Parmesan cheese can be thinly sliced and served as an appetizer, or grated over salads or pastas. Grated Parmesan can also be mixed into meatballs. Basically, no matter what you sprinkle it on, it will add a pop of savory saltiness. Pro tip: Buy a wedge of Parmesan to use at home. When it’s all gone, save the rind. You can drop the rinds into beans, soups, or stews as they simmer to add a cheesy flavor to the dish. 

parmesan cheese rinds
Save these!


Pecorino, and it’s most famous family member, Pecorino Romano, is also a hard, salty cheese. At first glance, Pecorino may seem similar to Parmesan, but it’s far from identical. Pecorino Romano is made from sheep’s cheese, which gives it a more grassy and earthy flavor. Pecorino is also typically younger than Parmesan. The minimum aging requirement for Pecorino is only 5-8 months. This creates a slightly more moist, greener tasting cheese. 

pecorino romano cheese
Delicious crumbles

Pecorino Romano is the star of cacio e pepe, where the tangy character it gets from sheep’s cheese has an opportunity to shine. Pecorino also works well as a grating cheese, and will be delicious over pasta and salads. If you know you love Pecorino Romano, try looking for a few other varieties, like Pecorino Siciliano, which is often made with an incorporation of black peppercorns. 

Now that you know all about the difference between Pecorino and Parmesan, here are some recipes to get you cooking:

Recipes with Parmesan cheese

Stovetop Chicken Parmesan with Elicoidali Pasta

Stovetop Chicken Parmesan with Elicoidali Pasta

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli

Parmesan-Crusted Chicken with Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Roasted Broccoli

Chile Butter Steaks with Parmesan Potatoes & Spinach

Chile Butter Steaks with Parmesan Potatoes & Spinach

Recipes with Pecorino Romano cheese

Summer Vegetable Gnocchi with Pecorino Romano Cheese

Summer Vegetable Gnocchi with Pecorino Romano Cheese

Zucchini Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella & Pecorino Cheese

Zucchini Pizza with Fresh Mozzarella & Pecorino Cheese

Za’atar-Roasted Broccoli Salad with Fregola Sarda, Pecorino Cheese & Tahini Dressing

Za'atar-Roasted Broccoli Salad with Fregola Sarda, Pecorino Cheese & Tahini Dressing