If you have the time it's good to let this dish sit overnight before baking as the flavours improve and the pasta absorbs some of the sauce.
This was a good casserole. It was pretty basic and easy to make. It just lacked flavor. With a little work on the sauce the dish could easily be excellent. After you brown the meat and saute the onion, veggies, and garlic, I recommend doing a wine reduction with a basic merlot (one that you can actually drink). Reduce the wine on med-high heat until it you have half of what you started with (I usually start with 1 - 1/2 cups). Then add 1 large can of tomato sauce. A generous sprinkle of basil, parsley, and italian seasoning. Then add your meat and veggies back to the sauce. Let simmer about 5 minutes. Then top to over your cheese in your casserole dish and bake. I would like to add that this casserole would be really good with eggplant, zuccini, carrots, squash, etc. You really could add any combination of vegetable(s) and it would be delicious. Next time I will definately keep the celery but I am going to add shredded zuccini and eggplant. I will cut out the diced tomatoes and double the tomato sauce; only because my kids didn't care for the tomatoes chunks. - 17 Feb 2010 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
I substituted a can of stewed tomatoes (undrained) for the can of sauce because it was what I had onhand and because it had onions, celery, and peppers in it! A great shortcut for those of us with no time to chop veggies. I used all ground beef and monterey jack/cheddar because that's what I had. Came out great! Chunky, cheesy, and delicious. - 28 May 2008 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)
This was very easy to make and very tasty. I used whole wheat rotini pasta and diced tomatos with italian seasonings. This recipe also freezes well and the leftovers are ever so tasty! - 17 Mar 2008 (Review from Allrecipes USA and Canada)