Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Meatball Pasta Bake

Nothing beats a good, classic pasta dish. Take spaghetti and meatballs for instance. It usually takes you to a place from your past. For me, it's my mom's kitchen. A large pot of pasta, topped with just enough sauce to coat the noodles, and a side of meatballs, chopped into quarters, then mixed in, to accompany each forkful of spaghetti. This is just like that, only not. I know, right? I took all of your classic ingredients, but baked them to melty-cheesy (totally just made that word up) perfection; complete with meatballs baked right in the pasta. Let me repeat. In the pasta. Oh, and don't forget the wine!

Meatball Pasta Bake

  • 1 lb. pasta noodles
  • 3/4-lb. pre-packaged meatballs or homemade
  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara, or homemade
  • 1 8-oz. ball of mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • fresh basil leaves, sliced for garnish
  • wine, for drinking!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x9-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Cook the noodles for half of the time recommended by the package directions. They will continue to cook in the oven, so avoid overly soggy noodles by cutting the boiling time in half.

Once the noodles are done, add them to a large bowl along with the cooked meatballs and the sauce. Fold in half of the mozzarella cheese and then pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.

Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, then turn up the heat to broil and cook for another 2-4 minutes, until the cheese on top begins to get nice and crispy (this is how you get those those crunchy edges).

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving. This way the sauce finds its way into all the crevices in the pasta, and also so you don't burn the roof of your mouth!

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