Cheesy Italian Potato Casserole

This Italian potato casserole is loaded with cheese, herbs and sauce, making the perfect Italian casserole to pair with a loaf of crusty garlic bread and a fresh tossed salad. This easy casserole is baked in the oven, but could be prepped ahead and frozen for a quick meal to reheat on a busy day. If you love casseroles for meal prep, family dinners or hosting events, checkout a few of my personal favorites which include, Rice and Beef Cracker Top Casserole, Amish Dairy Casserole, Amish Country Casserole or Amish Country Breakfast Casserole.

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Cheesy and Saucy Italian Potato Casserole

Cheesy Italian Potato Casserole

marilynpeight
A saucy and cheesy potato casserole that is packed with Italian flavors, making a hearty main dish that is delicious paired with crusty garlic bread and a tossed salad!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8

Equipment

  • 13 by 9 inch baking dish (linked below)
  • Frying pan (linked below)
  • Cutting board (linked below)
  • Aluminum Foil (linked below)

Ingredients
  

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 3/4 cup diced onions
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, minced optional
  • 3 1/2 cups marinara or pasta sauce divided *see note on reducing acid flavor.
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon minced, fresh basil optional
  • 5 medium sized potatoes
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese

Topping:

  • shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions
 

Preheat oven to 375:

  • Brown the ground beef in a large frying pan. When the beef is a minute or two away from being cooked through, stir in the onions and garlic. Once the veggies have softened and the beef is cooked through, add the spices, herbs and 2 1/2 cups of pasta sauce to the mixture and reduce the heat to low. Allow to simmer for around 20-30 minutes. *see note.
  • While the sauce is simmering, peel and cube the potatoes (removing any blemishes), then thinly slice the potatoes length wise similar to scalloped potatoes. Spread the remaining 1/2 cup of pasta sauce into the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Place the potatoes on top of the sauce, then sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the potatoes.
  • Evenly spread the meat sauce over the cheese topped potatoes, then cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. Uncover the baking dish at the last 15 minutes of baking and top with shredded cheese. Continue to bake (uncovered) until the cheese has melted and potatoes are fully softened. Cool slightly and enjoy!

Notes

If you wish to reduce the acidic flavor of your tomato sauce, you can add 1-2 tablespoons (or to taste) of brown sugar to the sauce mixture. 
If the beef soaks up a lot of the sauce while simmering, you can add a little water or extra sauce to loosen the mixture up again. 
Additional notes and step by step photos below. 
 
Keyword Italian, Potato, Casserole, Cheesy, Saucy, Meal Prep
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Equipment needed for this Cheesy (and saucy) Italian Potato Casserole:

  • 13 by 9 inch baking dish A 13 by 9 inch baking dish is the best size for baking this Italian potato casserole in. Glass baking dishes are my go-to because they are easier to clean up than aluminum baking dishes.
  • Frying pan A large frying pan or skillet is needed to fry the beef and simmer the sauce mixture to develop those bold Italian flavors we all love.
  • Cutting board I like to use my cutting board and chef’s knife for slicing the potatoes, mincing the garlic and dicing the onions for this Italian potato casserole.
  • Aluminum foil You will need to cover this casserole in aluminum foil to prevent the top from burning during its bake time. After the shredded cheese is added the foil can be discarded.

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Ingredients needed for this Cheesy Italian Potato Casserole: Marinara sauce (or pasta sauce), potatoes, onions, pepper, salt, chili powder, Italian seasoning, ground beef, garlic, basil (optional), grated parmesan cheese and shredded mozzarella cheese.

Can I use pasta instead of potatoes in this casserole?

I personally haven’t tried it yet, but I would think using pasta instead of potatoes would be just as yummy. If using pasta, be sure to cook the pasta and drain well before adding it to the casserole. Since the pasta would be precooked and doesn’t need to soften like the potatoes, you will want to reduce the bake time to around 30 minutes and can add the shredded mozzarella cheese on top before baking the casserole.

Step 1: Brown the ground beef. When the beef is a minute or two away from being cooked through, stir in the onions and garlic. Once the veggies have softened and the beef is cooked through, add the spices, herbs and 2 1/2 cups of pasta sauce to the mixture. Reduce the heat to low and allow to simmer for around 20-30 minutes. 

What can I do if the beef soaks up too much liquid while simmering in the sauce?

If the sauce seems dry after its 20-30 minutes of simmering, I like to add a little water or extra sauce to the mixture. This usually loosens the sauce up again so that it is easy to spread onto the potatoes and has adequate moisture for the potatoes to soak up a bit of it while baking.

Step 2: While the sauce is simmering, peel and cube the potatoes, then thinly slice the potatoes length wise (like scalloped potatoes). Spread 1/2 cup of pasta sauce into the bottom of a 13 by 9 inch baking dish. Place the potatoes on top of the sauce, then sprinkle the grated parmesan cheese over the potatoes.

Step 3: Evenly spread the sauce over the cheese topped potatoes, then cover the dish tightly with foil and bake in the preheated oven for 50-60 minutes. 

Step 3 continued: Uncover the baking dish at the last 15 minutes of baking and top with shredded cheese. Continue to bake (uncovered) until the cheese has melted and potatoes are fully softened. Cool slightly and enjoy!

Storage for leftovers:

If you have any leftovers of this Italian Potato Casserole, you can keep them tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. To reheat, simply microwave or cover with foil and bake at 350 until heated through. You can also freeze the leftovers for up to 3 months.

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