Two Sauce Baked Pasta brings together Marinara and Alfredo Sauce to make the perfect pasta bake!
There is something about a big dish of warm pasta that makes life okay! Any pasta, any sauce, any veggie or meat and I am in heaven!
If I have to choose between Alfredo or Marinara, I have a hard time picking! Because of this dilemma, any time I have both sauces available, I will do half Marinara and half Alfredo sauce on my pasta. Inevitably, they always end up mixing together, but I don’t mind… it makes the most delicious sauce! I decided to make this happy mistake into a recipe and came up with my Two-Sauce Baked Pasta which is basically a big dish of Alfredo marinara pasta!
Pasta for Two-Sauce Baked Pasta
I love Penne Pasta, Bow-Tie Pasta or even Rigatoni for a baked pasta. The sauce sticks to their larger surfaces and it is so much easier to eat than twirling long pasta noodles on a fork.
For this recipe I use Penne Pasta, but any pasta that your family loves will work! You will need to cook your pasta before baking the pasta dish. I boil my water and cook my pasta while I am making the sauces.
Cook the pasta according to the directions, cutting the cooking time a bit short so it is not too done. A little under done is what you need since it will be baking in the oven and the pasta will soften a bit more during the baking time!
Two-Sauce Pasta Sauces
Marinara and Alfredo Sauce mixed together is sometimes called Rose Pasta Sauce, because of the color. It is also called just simply Marinara Alfredo or Creamy Marinara. It is sort of like a Vodka Sauce, minus the Vodka. But whatever you call it, it is just down right yummy!
I make a Homemade Alfredo Sauce and Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and mix them together for this recipe. Both recipes are super easy to make. The Alfredo Sauce takes a bit longer, but trust me the results are amazing! You end up with the best two-sauce pasta made with Alfredo and marinara mixed together!
STORE BOUGHT OPTION: You can use store bought sauce if you don’t want to take the time to make the sauces from scratch. There are quite a few yummy bottled sauces that are really tasty. You need roughly 3 cups of each sauce so if the sauce you like comes in 15 oz. buy 2 bottles.
You can add more or less of one or the other sauces to taste! I love to add some fresh grated Parmesan cheese to bottle sauces and a season it to taste with garlic powder, garlic salt, onion powder, and Italian Seasoning to taste.
Alfredo Sauce for Two-Sauce Baked Pasta
The Alfredo Sauce is creamy and perfectly flavored with garlic and Parmesan cheese.
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt your butter. Add the flour and minced garlic. (I always use the bottled minced garlic) Whisk the flour, butter and garlic together. Let it heat on medium heat for 1-2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant, and the butter/flour mixture is bubbly. Add your milk, whisking it into the butter and flour until smooth. Keep the heat on medium heat, whisking it as it heats. The mixture will start to thicken. Keep whisking until it is thickened to your liking. Add in the cream cheese, whisking it until it is fully melted.
Next, you will add in your grated Parmesan Cheese.
NOTE ABOUT THE PARMESAN CHEESE: I buy a little wedge of fresh Parmesan cheese and grate it myself. You can used bottle Parmesan cheese but it doesn’t melt as well. It will still taste yummy, but the the texture won’t be as smooth. Whisk the cheese into the sauce until fully melted.
Finally, add the garlic powder, and kosher salt. Adjust seasonings as needed to your liking.
The sauce should be thickened, smooth and creamy. If it is too thick, you can add a little more milk at a time, whisking it in until it reaches a thickness you like. Adjust the seasoning as needed if adding more milk. Remove from heat.
Marinara (Spaghetti Sauce) for Two- Sauce Pasta
The Marinara (Spaghetti Sauce) is super easy but tasty. It comes together in minutes.
You will need one small can (8 oz.) of tomato sauce, one can (14.5 oz.) beef broth, cornstarch (for thickening), white sugar, Italian Seasoning, ground oregano, and kosher salt.
Just mix all of the ingredients together in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until it is heated through. The sauce should thicken with the cornstarch in it. Adjust the seasonings to your taste as needed. Remove from the heat.
Two-Sauce Pasta Sauce
Now comes the hard part! Pour the Marinara (Spaghetti Sauce) into the Alfredo Sauce, or vice versa! Easy Peasy! Give it a good stir and your sauce is complete!
Optional : Adding Meat to the Two-Sauce Pasta
You can easily add meat to this pasta. Browned ground beef is always a hit, some cooked sausage or chicken is yummy too! You can add whatever meat you like (or none). Just cook the meat before adding it to the sauce. Just add the cooked meat when you add the pasta to the sauce and stir it up!
Optional : Adding veggies for a vegetarian pasta bake
I think fresh veggies in pasta is always a delicoius addition. If you are looking for a more vegetarian pasta (or add it with the meat) you can add any fresh veggie you like. Broccoli, zucchini, squash, mushrooms, peppers, eggplant, or even fresh cut tomatoes all would be super yummy!
Making the Pasta Dish
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
Next, add your cooked pasta to the Two-Sauce Pasta Sauce and mix it well!
IF ADDING MEAT OR VEGGIES: Add them at this point and mix it all up.
Add a little mozzarella cheese (optional but why not?), and mix it again.
Dump the mixed pasta/sauce into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish. Top with additional grated Mozzarella Cheese and cover tightly with foil.
Place the dish in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover the pasta dish the last 10 minutes if desired to let the cheese get super melty and a little browned on top.
Serving the Two-Sauce Baked Pasta
Serve the pasta straight out of the oven. It is super yummy warm with all of the mozzarella cheese melted throughout. This is a substantial meal that will fill you up, but we love eating some type of bread with pasta! Try my Easy Garlic Knots, Easy Breadsticks, or Homemade French Bread to eat with this baked pasta dish!
Hope you enjoy this marinara Alfredo pasta dish!
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Two-Sauce Pasta Bake
- 1 lb. Penne Pasta, or pasta that you like
- 1 8 oz.) package Mozzarella Cheese, grated, divided *about 2 cups grated
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp flour
- 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (the bottled kind)
- 2 cups milk *2% or whole works best
- 4 oz. (1/2 a block) cream cheese
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated *fresh grated works best
- 1 1/2 tsp garlic powder *or more to taste
- 1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste *you can use regular salt, just add to taste without measuring- this will make it more salty faster
Marinara (Spaghetti Sauce)
- 1 can (14.5 oz.) beef broth
- 1 small can (8 oz.) tomato sauce
- 3 tbsp cornstarch *for thickening
- 1/2 tbsp white sugar
- 2 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/2 to 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste *if using regular salt start with 1/4 tsp, then season to taste
- 1/2 tsp ground oregano
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish.
- Cook your pasta according to the package but leave it a little under-done, so it is not too soft. It will soften and cook a bit more in the oven. When the pasta is cooked just under-done, drain it, and rinse it in cold water so it stops cooking. Set it aside.
- Melt your butter in a skillet over medium heat and add your flour and minced garlic. Whisk it together and let it cook for 1-2 minutes until the garlic becomes fragrant and butter and flour start to bubble.
- Add your milk to the butter and flour and whisk it together until mixed well. Continue to whisk the sauce over medium heat until it starts to thicken.
- Add your cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese is melted and sauce is smooth.
- Make you Marinara Sauce and Alfredo Sauce (see instructions below).
- In a small/medium saucepan, add all the Marinara Sauce ingredients and mix well. Let the sauce come to a boil, whisking it the entire time. It should thicken when it starts to boil. Keep whisking the sauce until it is thickened, then remove it from the heat. Adjust the seasonings to your liking as needed.
Making the Pasta Dish
- Mix the Alfredo and Marinara Sauce together. You can adjust the seasonings at this point as well if needed. You can add more garlic powder, salt etc.
- Mix in the cooked pasta. Mix well.
- Take half of your grated mozzarella cheese (about 1 cup) and mix in the pasta and sauce.*If you are adding cooked meat or veggies in the dish, add it now!
- Pour the pasta in a greased 9×13 baking dish. Cover with foil.
- Bake at 375° for 30 minutes. Take the foil off the last 10 minutes and let the cheese brown a bit on top if desired.
- Take the dish out of the oven when it is done to your liking and dish up!