Posted By: Raquelita 
Jul 17  # 1 of 1
Make-Ahead Cheese-and-Hamburger Casserole

Tips: The penne doesn't have to be cooked beforehand because it absorbs the liquid when refrigerated overnight. If you want to make it the same day, cook the pasta before combining with all the ingredients. For convenience, use precrumbled feta and preshredded mozzarella.

1 pound ground round
1 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 (8-ounce) package presliced mushrooms
6 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained and chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 cups 2% low-fat milk
1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
4 cups uncooked penne (tubular-shaped pasta)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large nonstick skillet; cook over medium-high heat until browned, stirring to crumble. Add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes or until tender. Add tomato paste and next 5 ingredients (tomato paste through whole tomatoes); stir well. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, 20 minutes. Set aside.
Place flour in a medium saucepan. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended. Place over medium heat; cook 10 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Stir in cheeses; cook 3 minutes or until cheeses melt, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/2 cup cheese sauce. Pour remaining cheese sauce, beef mixture, and pasta into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish, and stir gently. Drizzle reserved cheese sauce over pasta mixture. Cover and refrigerate 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350.
Bake at 350, covered, for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until thoroughly heated and pasta is tender; sprinkle with parsley, if desired.

Yield: 8 servings

CALORIES 412(23% from fat); FAT 10.8g (sat 5.5g,mono 3.2g,poly 0.9g); PROTEIN 27.5g; CHOLESTEROL 60mg; CALCIUM 286mg; SODIUM 448mg; FIBER 3.2g; IRON 4.9mg; CARBOHYDRATE 51.1g
Cooking Light, NOVEMBER 1996