Put on a pot of water for the macaroni and bring to a boil, add macaroni and cook according to the package directions. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a skillet. Chop the celery, onion and green bell pepper; toss into the melted butter as you go and saute the vegetables until tender. Push veggies to the sides of the skillet, toss the garlic in the center and saute for a few seconds, then toss the ground beef on top, cook and stir until the meat is browned.
Meanwhile preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Push the veggies into the meat and stir to mix thoroughly. Drain off fat if needed and return meat mixture to the skillet. Add basil, salt, pepper and stir into meat and veggie mixture for a few minutes to meld flavors together. Add tomato paste, water, and bay leaf, stir together well and simmer, uncovered for about 5 minutes.
Remove bay leaf and discard. Spray a 13 x 9 inch glass casserole dish with butter flavored PAM, toss in cooked macaroni. Spoon the meat and veggie mixture evenly on top of the macaroni, covering macaroni completely. Sprinkle cheese on top of the meat mixture and bread crumbs on top of cheese. Add a few sprinkles of dried parsley and Parmesan on top.
Bake, uncovered for about 20 minutes or until cheese is melted.
By Mary from Ocean Springs, MS
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