Do it like Donatelli's, and don't skimp on the cheese.
For the sauce:
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil, divided
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 (12-ounce) cans tomato paste
- 1 (29-ounce) can tomato puree
- 1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, with juice
- 1 tablespoon beef base, such as Better Than Bouillon
- 1 tablespoon chicken base, such as Better Than Bouillon
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons steak seasoning, such as McCormick's Montreal Steak Seasoning
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
For the baked pasta:
- Vegetable oil, for the baking dish
- 1 pound dried mostaccioli, cooked al dente
- 3 1/2 to 4 cups meat sauce, warm or at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese
- 2 1/2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
- Shredded or grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
1. To make the sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, garlic, salt to taste, and the pepper and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the beef is browned. Set aside.
2. Heat the rest of the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring a bit, until soft. Stir in all of the tomato products. Fill the tomato puree can with hot water, and stir in the beef and chicken base to dissolve. Add the mixture to the saucepan along with the Parmesan, steak seasoning, garlic salt, basil, and parsley, and bring to a simmer.
3. Add the beef to the sauce, reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Taste and add salt, if necessary.
4. To make the baked pasta: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil a 10-inch deep-dish pie plate.
5. Toss the cooked pasta with 2 cups of the meat sauce and 11/2 cups each of the mozzarella and Cheddar cheeses. Mound the mixture in the pie dish and top with the rest of the meat sauce and the mozzarella and Cheddar. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet, and bake until bubbling and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Top with the Parmesan cheese and serve hot.