In its most basic form, cheesy mostaccioli consists of mostaccioli pasta, spaghetti sauce, assorted cheeses and ground meat. The baked dish is similar to lasagna but uses tube-shaped mostaccioli pasta rather than wide, flat lasagna noodles.
Cooks can substitute ziti or penne pasta to make cheesy mostaccioli and can use mozzarella, ricotta, Parmesan, cheddar or a combination of the four cheeses in the dish. Variations of cheesy mostaccioli include adding ground beef, ground turkey or sausage, while vegetarian versions of the dish exclude meat. From-scratch recipes call for homemade sauce that typically includes chopped onions, minced garlic, mushrooms, green peppers and herbs.