clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
La dulce vita all purpose Italian seasoning

Quarantine La Dulce Vita Pasta Casserole (Substitutes Galore for Whatever Ya Got in Your Cupboards/Fridge)

  • Author: Meaghan Thomas
  • Prep Time: 20
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 6+ hungry people 1x


Sometimes the perfect COVID-19 quarantine food = comfort + whatcha got on hand. You probably have all these items handy to make this flavor-packed gooey pasta bake. And given the current meat shortages, you can easily make this with vegetarian meat substitutes (we used frozen Quorn meatless grounds) and I promise no one will even notice.


  • 2.53 cups ground meat (you can use ground beef, turkey or veggie-friendly alternative meat – we used frozen Quorn Meatless Grounds, which has been a handy thing to keep in the freezer lately)
  • 1/2 pound pound penne pasta (or similar pasta like mostaccioli, rigatoni, macaroni, rotini)
  • 12 ounce jar of marinara (or whatever sauce you have)
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallots (or 1 cup chopped onions)
  • 35 cloves minced garlic (sub with a healthy dose of minced garlic, garlic granules or powder)
  • 10 white mushroom caps, sliced and halved if they’re big (canned mushrooms could work)
  • 3 medium chopped tomatoes (or canned diced tomatoes)
  • 1.52 Tablespoons of our La Dolce Vita organic spice blend (That’s Amore, Buffy’s Slayer Helper would also go well with this dish)
  • 12 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Mozzarella cheese (or any good melting cheese)
  • A few big appetites


  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions
  2. While pasta is cooking, cook the meat in a very large skillet on med heat (use with 1 TB olive oil or 2 if using veggie meat) add water if needed.
  3. When meat is fully cooked, add shallots and cook for 3 minutes
  4. Preheat oven to 350
  5. Add garlic to meat, cook for an additional 2 minutes
  6. If you’re cooking with real meat, drain a majority of the fat at this point.
  7. Add pasta sauce, mushrooms, tomatoes, 1/4 cup water and 1-2 Tablespoons of La Dolce Vita spice mix to the meat, lower heat, stir and let lightly simmer for 5-8 mins, stirring occasionally. The goal is to have majority of the moisture evaporate.
  8. When pasta is done cooking, drain and return to the pan you boiled the pasta in.
  9. Add the meat sauce mixture to the pasta and stir.
  10. Pour it into a casserole dish (at least a 13×19, this is a whopper that makes a lot of food)
  11. Toss mozzarella on top. Remember, we’re in a quarantine situation, let the the cheese flow.
  12. Bake for 25-30 minutes until it’s bubbly and the cheese browns
  • Category: pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian


pan of la dulce vita baked pasta

And Here’s a Video of it Steaming Hot For All Our Fellow Pasta Lovers Out There

, b

“The Pinch Spice Market spices are absolute AMAZING! They're flavorful, potent, organic, and DELICIOUS! I love how layered the flavor profiles of the spice/herb blends are; they make everything taste worthy. OUTSTANDING!”

--Ayesha W.

"GREAT blends! Totally my go-to gifts (and self-gifts) now"

-Adam H.

"Friendly and knowledgeable staff with excellent fresh spices makes this place a one of kind spice place worth shopping from.”

--Tim K.

“So far, Veggie Sprinkle, Finger Lickin' Chicken, and Porcini Salt are in our regular spice rotation.”

--Brian C.

“High quality, fresh spices.”

--Sharon S.