This Baked Pasta and Meatballs casserole has tender penne pasta baked in marinara sauce, topped with Italian seasoned meatballs and shredded cheese. It’s always a huge win with my family and I know it will be the same for yours too!
This cozy, home-cooked meal can be served with homemade bread or a green salad. It’s one of those meals that you will probably already have most of the ingredients for in your pantry.
And if you want to speed up this already quick dish, you do have the option of using ready-made meatballs from your grocery store. I like to keep a bag of frozen meatballs on hand. Give it a try, you’ll love it!
TIPS FOR MAKING BAKED PASTA AND MEATBALLS
- To create variations of this dish, try the following: For a vegetarian variation, simply skip the meatballs altogether and add some mushrooms and you’ve got yourself a delicious vegetarian pasta bake!
- Substitute diced or sliced sausage for the meatballs in this recipe or use both if you are serious meat lovers.
- For an extra spicy dish, add in some pepper jack cheese, red pepper flakes and spicy Italian sausage for a hot and spicy pasta bake.
- Add in any additional flavors you prefer when making the meatballs such as chopped onions, hot sauce, tomato paste, BBQ sauce, or swap out the seasoning.
- If you want to make a smaller batch then cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8’’ or similar size dish.
Baked Pasta and Meatballs
- In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Adjust the dryness of the meatballs by adding or reducing the amount of breadcrumbs. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Roll 1 Tablespoon amounts of the meatball mixture into balls and place in a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish. Repeat with entire mixture.
Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time, until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160F.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta. Once the meatballs are cooked and pasta is cooked and drained, combine the pasta, meatballs and marinara sauce in your casserole dish.
- Top with shredded cheese.Reduce oven temperature to 350F and place casserole dish in the oven for 8-10 minutes, just to melt the cheese.
CAN I MAKE BAKED PASTA AND MEATBALLS AHEAD OF TIME?
- Yes! Prep this casserole up to the point that you would bake and then cover it with foil and store it in your fridge overnight. When ready to bake, let it thaw to room temperature for about 30 minutes while your oven preheats and bake as directed.
- To make it even further in advance, wrap in plastic and store in your freezer of up to one month. To bake, remove from the freezer and thaw in your refrigerator overnight. The next day you simply follow the directions as above for baking.
CAN I USE FROZEN MEATBALLS TO SAVE TIME?
- Yes, but make sure to thaw your frozen meatballs first before adding them to the casserole. It will take longer if you bake with frozen meatballs and you risk overcooking the other ingredients.
Other Comforting Pasta Bakes You’ll Love
- Easy Cheesy Tortellini Pasta Bake
- Easy Pizza Pasta Bake
- Easy Crockpot Taco Pasta Bake
- Grits And Sausage Casserole
Baked Pasta and Meatballs
For the Meatballs
- 2 lb beef minced
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg
For the Casserole
- 1 lb penne pasta cooked
- 2 cups marinara sauce
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional
- 2 cups shredded cheese
- Fresh parsley optional garnish
- In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Adjust the dryness of the meatballs by adding or reducing the amount of breadcrumbs.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Roll 1 Tablespoon amounts of the meatball mixture into balls and place in a 9" x 13" casserole dish. Repeat with entire mixture.
- Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway through the cooking time, until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160F.
- Meanwhile, cook your pasta.
- Once the meatballs are cooked and pasta is cooked and drained, combine the pasta, meatballs and marinara sauce in your casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese.
- Reduce oven temperature to 350F and place casserole dish in the oven for 8-10 minutes, just to melt the cheese.
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The Rockstar Mommy is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is only an estimate. We recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator if you need to verify any information.