There are so many end-of-the-school-year parties this time of year. A great time to share a crowd-pleasing casserole! I brought this baked pasta dish to my son’s pre-County Championship Swim Meet pasta dinner. I was thrilled when my friend’s husband asked for the recipe. 🙂
This recipe was adapted from such a fun book- Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food and Wine. I love Chapple’s column in the printed magazine and knew I would enjoy this book as well. The pasta and the meatballs cook in the oven. Truly genius!
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey
- 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/3 cup lightly packed basil, torn or chiffonade, plus more for garnish
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
- coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ziti, rigatoni, rotini, fusilli, shells, or campanelle pasta
- 1 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch pieces
- 28 oz (about 3 cups) prepared marinara sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
- In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef, bread crumbs, eggs, 1/3 cup torn basil, 1/4 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; mix well.
- Using a cookie scoop, form the meat mixture into one-inch balls.
- In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, spread half of the pasta in an even layer.
- Arrange half of the meatballs (about 16) and mozzarella on the pasta.
- Spoon half of the marinara on top and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Repeat with the remaining pasta, meatballs, cheese, and marinara. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
- Place baking dish on a rimmed cookie sheet. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
- Bake for about 1 hour, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
- Uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer, until lightly browned.
- Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and parmesan and serve.
Make Ahead: The baked pasta can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.
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