Company Casserole (Ground Beef Pasta Casserole)

Company Casserole is a ground beef and pasta casserole in a super creamy, cheesy tomato sauce. This baked casserole earns its name! Make ahead friendly and a favorite of both adults and kids, this is the perfect dish for busy weeknights or dinner parties.

A Pasta Casserole the Whole Family Will Love

Spatula holding a slice of cheesy company casserole.

If I was in charge of the dictionary, I would slap a full page photo of this Company Casserole next to the words: “Comfort Food.”

This recipe is way up at the tippy top of my list of satisfying, crowd pleasing, lick-the-plate-clean meals. It’s holding its own next to this Creamy Italian Sausage Pasta and Italian Tortellini Soup.

My 3 year old got to sample the casserole before his brother came home from school, and I later overheard him telling his brother “the noodles with the pizza sauce and cheese were BLAZING good.”

If that’s not an endorsement, I don’t know what is.

Super cheesy, melty bite of company casserole on a fork.

Here’s why I think you’ll love this as much as my 3 year old:

  • It’s perfect for making ahead of time. This casserole can be assembled in the morning and baked at night (or even the next day). You can also freeze it as a gift to your future self.
  • It’s great for guests. There’s a reason it’s called Company Casserole! Kids and adults both love it, you can make it advance, and it only needs an easy garden salad and garlic bread to complete the meal!
  • It’s a great way to stretch a pound of ground beef. This casserole serves 6-8 hungry souls, depending on how many of those souls are teenage boys.

Ingredients Needed

Ingredients for company casserole shown in small bowls.
  • Pasta– Any shorter pasta can work here–rotini, penne, farfalle–but by far our favorite is cavatappi. It’s just the right shape for gripping the creamy tomato sauce and it holds up well to baking.
  • Sour Cream– This is used to coat the noodles after they’re cooked. It keeps them from sticking together and adds a hint of tang.
  • Ground Beef– Good ol’ faithful. You can use any lean ratio for this recipe.
  • Onion– Saute a little onion and ground beef and you’ve got yourself the start of a casserole (or Lasagna Soup or Ground Beef Quesadillas or Ground Beef Gyros).
  • The Cheese Trifecta (Cottage Cheese, Cream Cheese, and Mozzarella Cheese)– Ok, if you’re lactose intolerant, this might not be the casserole for you. But for the rest of us, you’re going to LOVE how ridiculously creamy and melty this casserole is.
  • Spaghetti sauce– Any kind of jarred sauce will work well here. I’m partial to Prego, and especially enjoy the roasted garlic sauce.

How to Make Company Casserole

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta. Salt the water, bring to a boil, then add pasta. Cook at the lower end of the cooking time on the package directions, so it’s just al dente. Drain, then return the pasta to the pot and stir in sour cream. Set aside.
  3. Cook the beef. Meanwhile, heat a swirl of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onions and cook, stirring often, until the beef is browned and onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Drain off any excess grease, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Stir in the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until cream cheese is melted and mixture is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  1. Place the noodles in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with ground beef mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. 
  2. Refrigerate or bake. At this point, you can put a lid on the casserole and freeze or refrigerate until ready to bake. Otherwise, place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. 

Baked ground beef pasta casserole in a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish.

Make Ahead, Storage, and Freezer Instructions

To Make Company Casserole Ahead of Time

Follow the instructions through step 5, then tightly cover the casserole dish and refrigerate for up to two days. Bake, covered with foil, for the first 20 minutes, then remove the foil for another 15-20 minutes.

To Freeze Company Casserole

Follow the instructions through step 5, then cool completely, and double wrap with saran wrap and then foil. Freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or bake from frozen.

To bake a frozen casserole, cover it with foil, and place it in the oven while the oven preheats. Add about 20 minutes to the baking time, uncovering the casserole for the last 15 minutes.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

This casserole makes great leftovers! Honestly, I could eat it cold!

Store any leftovers covered in the casserole dish or transfer to an airtight container. They’ll keep for four days. Reheat in the microwave, or place back in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Spatula scooping out a piece of creamy ground beef and pasta casserole.

Variations and Substitutions

  • If you’d like to add more veggies, chopped green peppers and/or mushrooms can be added to the beef mixture. You can also stir chopped spinach or frozen spinach into the sauce.
  • I recommend using full fat dairy products, but you can substitute lower fat if you prefer.
  • To add a little more spice, add a ½ lb. of Italian sausage to the meat mixture.

Company Casserole shown in a white bowl with a fork.

More Ground Beef Casseroles to Try

If you or your kids love ground beef and pasta casseroles, definitely give this Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole and this classic Johnny Marzetti a try.

Hamburger Potato Casserole and Green Bean Tater Tot Casserole are both great options for make ahead, freezer friendly casseroles.

If you want to enjoy some Tex-Mex flavors, try this Tortilla Lasagna, Walking Taco Casserole, Taco Tater Tot Casserole, and Mexican Cornbread Casserole with Ground Beef.

Spatula holding a slice of cheesy company casserole.

Company Casserole

Yield: 8
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Company Casserole is a cheesy ground beef and pasta casserole in an ultra creamy tomato sauce.

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces cavatappi pasta
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 ounces cream cheese, cut into cubes
  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 (24 oz) jar your favorite spaghetti sauce
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cook the pasta. Salt the water, bring to a boil, then add pasta. Cook at the lower end of the cooking time on the package directions, so it’s just al dente. Drain, then return the pasta to the pot and stir in sour cream. Set aside.
  3. Cook the beef. Meanwhile, heat a swirl of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground beef and onions and cook, stirring often, until the beef is browned and onions are softened, about 7 minutes. Drain off any excess grease, then season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  4. Stir in the cream cheese, cottage cheese, and spaghetti sauce. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often, until cream cheese is melted and mixture is heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Place the noodles in a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with ground beef mixture. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese. 
  6. Refrigerate or bake. At this point, you can put a lid on the casserole and freeze or refrigerate until ready to bake. Otherwise, place the casserole in the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese is melted and edges are bubbling. 

Notes

This casserole can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen. Please see post above for full instructions.

Recommended Products

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Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 474Total Fat: 26gSaturated Fat: 11gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 92mgSodium: 1340mgCarbohydrates: 32gFiber: 5gSugar: 15gProtein: 28g

Please note nutritional information for my recipes is calculated by a third party service and provided as a courtesy to my readers. For the most accurate calculation, I always recommend running the numbers yourself with the specific products you use.

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17 Comments

  1. Hi! So if you take it out of the freezer bake at an hour maybe? You called it freezable but didn’t tell us how to bake it from frozen. 😉

    1. Hello! Yes, you can go straight from the freezer to the oven (though if you’re using a glass pan, make sure to put it in while the oven is preheating so it can warm slowly–foil pans are even better for freezing). I recommend reheating for about 1 hour covered, then uncover and bake another 15 minutes so the cheese can get nice and brown. Good luck!

  2. Being of Italian decent this is very much like the Baked Ziti I grew up with and one of my favorite dishes to make to feed a crowd, like when all the kids and their families descend at the holidays (we have 35 people for a week then). I make it ahead of time and freeze it. Thaw, bake, add some garlic rolls and toss a salad.

  3. Haha yes, I’ve heard the flood of food is one of the best things of having a new baby! And I can totally relate to your college experience. My friends and I had a few “college kid cookbooks” that we would cook from, and it was almost always cheesy casseroles like this! I’m bookmarking this for the next friend of mine to have a baby, which is next month 🙂

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