Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs is amazing. Every now and then you experiment and improvise and hit a winner! Not every time, but sometimes you hit the ball out of the ball park! Well, this was one of those recipes. I actually started with a recipe my daughter-in-law makes all the time, but decided to add meatballs to it, and extra sauce, and Italian seasoning, and….well you get the idea.
I LOVED the meatballs. They were actually supposed to be made with ground turkey but I’m not a big fan of ground turkey so I used ground beef instead. They were wonderful. These meatballs have roasted pine nuts which provide both a spectacular flavor and crunchy texture to the recipe.
This recipe is really cheesy, but since we really like a lot of sauce in our Italian dishes I used one-and-a-half times the original recipe. I could have used twice the amount of sauce and we would have liked that probably even better!
We had a houseful of company a couple of weeks ago and I was trying to think of what I could make that’s fairly easy, that I could whip up the day before and bake during the time we were at church on Sunday, and that most people would like. I was originally thinking of a soup, but finally decided to try this recipe.
I called my daughter-in-law to find out what she did and she said she usually followed the recipe pretty much the way it was written except she always substituted penne pasta for the ziti because she liked the texture better. I thought the group I was serving would prefer dishes with meat rather than meatless dishes so I thought I would try it adding the meatballs.
It was a huge success. Several of my guests remarked how much they enjoyed the meatballs, especially because of the toasted pine nuts inside!
If you’re looking for a tasty Italian main dish recipe that feeds about 10-12 hearty appetites than you’ve come to the right recipe! I would have made this gluten free except it’s hard to find GF penne pasta anywhere. [Update June 2017: Ronzoni now makes penne, macaroni, rotini and spaghetti noodles gluten free. They make the best tasting gluten free pasta I’ve ever tried.]
One of these days I’m going to have to break down and make up my own gluten free bread crumbs too. [Update June 2017: 4C brand now makes gluten free bread crumbs. They are available at Walmart.] But, until then, this recipe is a regular wheat pasta recipe. Even still, I think you and your family will enjoy this tasty pasta dish. We sure did. So did our company. The teenagers and kids loved it! Need I say more? 🙂
Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs is a wonderful pasta dish.
Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs has it all! Texture, taste, and it feeds a lot! We used penne pasta because we like the texture better than ziti.
The Italian-Style Meatballs were wonderful. I loved the taste of the pine nuts in them.
Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs is a spectacular entree your family will love.
Here’s what I did.
These are the ingredients I used for the meatballs. Feel free to substitute ground turkey for the beef if you prefer.
Toast the pine nuts. Add with all the remaining ingredients and mix with your hands until everything is well combined.
Here, everything is well mixed. Shape mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs and place on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes or so until baked through. Set meatballs aside.
These are the ingredients you will need for the pasta, except I added extra sauce and sprinkled Italian seasoning over top of the meatballs.
Cook penne pasta according to package directions but only until al-dente. Drain and rinse with cold water. Place pasta, egg, ricotta and mozzarella cheeses and 1 1/2 cups sauce in a large mixing bowl.
Stir to combine.
Spray a 9×13″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Add pasta mixture to dish.
Place meatballs over top of the pasta.
Cover meatballs with remaining sauce. Sprinkle up to 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning over top of sauce.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Cover and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until mixture is hot and bubbly.
I actually refrigerated the casserole overnight and then baked it the next day. I think the flavors even increase this way! We love this tasty dish! It’s a great entree to serve company, too.
All the cheese makes this entree spectacular.
Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs is not low calorie but it sure is high on taste!
This pasta entree is terrific for company dinners.
Here’s the recipe.
BAKED PENNE WITH ITALIAN-STYLE MEATBALLS
- 16-oz. penne pasta cooked al dente
- 24-oz. ricotta cheese
- 1 egg
- 48-oz. spaghetti sauce
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 16-oz. mozzarella cheese
- ½ to 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- Italian-Style Meatballs
- Cook pasta about 9-10 minutes—only until al dente.
- Drain and rinse.
- In a large bowl mix cooked and drained penne, ricotta cheese, egg, mozzarella cheese and 1 ½ cups spaghetti sauce.
- Stir to combine.
- Spray a 10×15” baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spread penne mixture over bottom of prepared pan.
- Place meatballs over top of penne mixture.
- Spread remaining sauce over top.
- Sprinkle Italian seasoning evenly over top of sauce.
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese over top.
- Cover and bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until bubbly.
- 1 ½ to 2 lbs. lean ground beef
- 1 tsp. minced garlic from a jar
- 1 ½ cups Italian bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- ½ cup toasted pine nuts
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 heaping tablespoon dried parsley
- Place ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until thoroughly mixed.
- Roll beef mixture into golf-ball sized balls and place on cookie sheets that have been sprayed with cooking spray.
- Bake at 350° for about 30 minutes or until done.
There are plenty of delicious meatballs providing a lot of hearty meat for beef lovers. But feel free to substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef if you prefer those meats. We added extra spaghetti sauce for this recipe because we prefer our pastas with a saucier taste.
Baked Penne with Italian-Style Meatballs is a marvelous main dish entree your family is sure to love.
This savory entree is so sumptuous. You will enjoy it down to the last crumb.
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