Red and White Pasta

This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

Only four ingredients and 15 minutes prep time to make this delicious red and white pasta casserole. This kid-friendly casserole is a great make ahead dinner, can be frozen, and is a great budget-friendly meal!

Serve this pasta casserole alongside this Italian salad, dinner rolls, and/or these roasted brussels sprouts.

Overhead image of the red and white pasta in a bowl with a fork in it

At my wedding shower, guests were asked to bring a recipe card with their favorite recipe on it. We had so much fun cooking through the handwritten recipe cards throughout the first year of being married. One of our go-to recipes is this very recipe I’m sharing today from my friend Janae: red and white pasta. 

It’s ridiculously easy and a great filling meal (especially on our limited college budgets). And now that I have three hungry kiddos of my own, this is the best meal to make on a busy night. They love this red and white pasta!

Up close image of the penne pasta

How to make red and white pasta

  • Cook the pasta and drain. I like to cook it a minute less than the package says since the pasta will also be baking. You don’t want mushy pasta and this helps it to retain a “bite” to it.
  • Layer: once the pasta is cooked, it’s time to layer the casserole starting with a little marinara. Next goes half the pasta, half the alfredo, half the marinara and half the cheese.
  • Layer continued: And the last set of layers: rest of the pasta, rest of the alfredo, rest of the marinara, and rest of the cheese.
  • Bake: cover with foil and bake until hot and bubbly.

Process shot-- overhead image of the pasta with the red and white sauce being added and the mozzarella cheese

Red and white pasta recipe variations

  • The red and white pasta recipe card I received included adding a chopped green bell pepper. The pepper is nice because it adds freshness and a pop of color. Dice it up and add it in layers right after the pasta.
  • Add sautéed mushrooms, again right after adding in the pasta. I’d sauté them in a little olive oil and season them with salt + pepper before adding.
  • A few other veggie addition ideas: sautéed yellow onion, sautéed zucchini, and sautéed yellow squash

Process shot-- Image of just the white sauce being added

Recipe variations continued

  • Switch up the noodles: use farfalle, rotini, or ziti noodles instead of penne. OR use a healthier noodle alternative such as chickpea cavatappi, veggie rotini, or lentil penne.
  • Make homemade alfredo sauce: while this will add quite a bit to prep time, it makes the dish delicious and is a great alternative if you’re avoiding store bought sauces!
  • Similarly to the above point, make homemade marinara sauce: again it will add to the prep time but works well in this red and white pasta.

Process shot-- Image of the red sauce being added on top of the white sauce

Adding protein

This is a great, filling meal that happens to be vegetarian. If you’re wanting to add some protein, I’d recommend a side of grilled chicken. Or adding some thinly sliced/shredded rotisserie chicken to the casserole. If preparing chicken, I recommend using this grilled chicken marinade, its a reader favorite recipe!

Process shot-- Image of the mozzarella cheese being added on top of the pasta sauces for this red and white pasta casserole

Store bought sauces

Not sure what sauces to use? Here’s a list of the top store bought Alfredo sauces and top store bought marinara sauces. Personally, Rao’s marinara and Bertolli alfredo are my favorite in this red and white pasta.

Image of the red and white pasta fresh out of the oven with a spoon pulling out some of the pasta

Red and white pasta quick tips

  • Use freshly grated mozzarella: not only is it more cost effective, but it melts much better. (Pre-grated cheese has a cellulose coating to keep it from clumping together.) 
  • Cook the pasta a minute shy of al dente and drain it well: we don’t want mushy or watery pasta! I let it sit in the colander for a minute or too ensure it’s thoughorly dry.
  • Completely cover the pasta noodles: aim to cover all the pasta with the sauces so you don’t end up with crispy/overcooked edges.
  • Add fresh herbs: totally optional, but a little sprinkle of chopped parsley adds a nice freshness

Up close image of the red and white pasta in a bowl ready to eat

More easy dinner recipes:

FOLLOW ALONG! Subscribe to my newsletter and follow along on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram for the latest updates, recipes and content.

Red and White Pasta

5 from 5 votes
Only four ingredients and 15 minutes prep time to make this delicious red and white pasta casserole. This kid-friendly casserole is a great make ahead dinner, can be frozen, and is a great budget-friendly meal!
Print Recipe

Red and White Pasta

5 from 5 votes
Only four ingredients and 15 minutes prep time to make this delicious red and white pasta casserole. This kid-friendly casserole is a great make ahead dinner, can be frozen, and is a great budget-friendly meal!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American
Keyword red and white pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Calories 344kcal
Cost $4.36

Ingredients

  • 1 box (16 ounces) penne pasta
  • 1 jar (24 ounces) good quality marinara sauce
  • 1 jar (16 ounces) roasted garlic Alfredo sauce
  • 2 and 1/4 cups freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese (1, 8 ounce block)
  • Optional: fresh chopped parsley

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook pasta according to package directions, cooking for 1 minute less than the package says. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
  • In a 9×13 glass or ceramic baking dish, spread 1/2 cup of marinara sauce on bottom. Pour half of the cooked pasta on top. Pour half the alfredo sauce, half the marinara sauce and 1 cup of cheese evenly over pasta. Repeat layers: remaining pasta, remaining alfredo sauce, remaining marinara, and finally remaining cheese.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes or until hot & bubbly. Enjoy right out of the oven! Garnish with chopped fresh parsley if desired.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 344kcal

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

I love hearing from you when you've made one of my recipes! Tag me on Instagram at @ChelseasMessyApron or leave me a comment below.

Nutrition facts in red and white pasta

FREE BONUS

FREE BONUS

EASY MEAL SECRETS:
How to Make Mealtime Hassle Free!

5 secrets to easy, fast and delicious dinners.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Leave a Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating




23 Comments

  1. This pasta sounds and looks wonderful. I love adding greens to my pasta –makes me feel like it is a bit healthier 😉 Rainbow swiss chard is a current favorite and I am certain it would work swimmingly with the alfredo/marinara sauce. Yum!

  2. This looks SO good! I pinned it and am now following you on Bloglovin’! I’m glad that I found your blog on the Show Stopper Saturday Link Party!

  3. 5 stars
    Easy and yummy. I used a jar of Arrabbiata sauce, with a little heat, for the red sauce. Added fresh spinach. No leftovers.

    1. Mmm sounds delicious! Love the idea of adding Arrabbiata sauce 🙂 Thanks so much for trying so many recipes and all the reviews Jane <3

  4. 5 stars
    I made this tonight! Delicious!! I want to freeze little portions for my 1 year old, any suggestions on how to reheat from frozen? Do I just pop it in microwave? Thank you !!

    1. Hey Becca,
      I haven’t actually tried freezing this specific recipe but I think if you freeze it in an airtight container and just reheat in the microwave or over the stove top it should be great! Let me know what you think! 🙂 Thanks for your comment!

  5. 5 stars
    Looks yummy and your words also make it sound delectable. I really want to try it asap. Thanks for the recipe.

  6. 5 stars
    My kids loved this, especially the teen girls who prefer vegetarian dishes. I plan to make it again for a larger crowd, one as-is for the kids, and one with some extra veggies for the adults. Thank you for the easy and delicious recipe!

Never Miss a Recipe

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.