Cheesy Meatball Pasta Casserole is one of those dishes that nobody can resist. It is like the combo of two all time favorites of us: meatballs and pasta. This casserole takes the classic pasta with meatballs to a next level. Pasta, meatballs and mozzarella are layered in a baking dish and baked in oven. You can’t help salivating when waiting until it’s done!
You’ve already loved our Creamy Caprese Pasta, which looks like the vegetarian version of this Cheesy Meatballs Pasta Casserole but this one has an extra step, it is baked in oven.
The meatballs are wonderfully tender and extra tasty as they are cooked in a tangy tomato sauce. I fry the meatballs in a large pan using about 2 tablespoons olive oil. When they are almost done, I pour the tomato sauce we preserved last summer and let it simmer for a while. Knowing that we still have more than 10 jars of preserved tomatoes is a great feeling, you know. Summer tomatoes always taste better and with no doubt they make a difference when they are added into a dish. I can’t think of an orzo soup without summer tomatoes. Anyway, you got the idea. Preserve tomatoes when they are in season and enjoy the taste in winter! If you don’t have any for this recipe though, you can use canned tomato puree.
This Cheesy Meatball Pasta Casserole is always a winner, so you can make it whenever you feel stuck or want to make your family pleased. One of the things I love about this casserole is that it is a perfect crowd pleaser and you always have leftovers for the next day if you don’t have a crowded family. Nobody will complain about eating the same thing for the second time the next day. On the contrary, they will thank you again.
For me a good tomato sauce must have garlic inside and this one has a good amount of it. I roughly chop 6 cloves and toss into the pan and that irresistible smell starts to fill in the kitchen. Shake the pan occasionally so that the meatballs are coated well with the sauce. When you are cooking the meatballs, you can boil the pasta.
When the sauce gets thick after simmering for about 10 minutes over medium low heat, it’s done. Drain the pasta and toss over the meatballs. Stir well and transfer half of it into a baking dish. Top grated mozzarella and pour the rest of the meatballs and pasta over the cheese. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes, top again with mozzarella and bake until the cheese melts.
Cheesy Meatball Pasta Casserole is loaded with melting cheese and tomato sauce, so it’s beyond a regular pasta. Say hello to your future favorite dinner!
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Cheesy Meatball Pasta Casserole
Baked pasta with meatballs loaded with mozzarella. This is an all time winner pasta recipe!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6 1x
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
For the sauce:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 and 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, preserved by yourself or canned
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped roughly
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon salt
For the casserole:
- 1 pound pasta of your choice
- 2 cups mozzarella, grated
- Start preparing the meatballs. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix them well using your hand. Make small balls and place them on a plate.
- Heat olive oil in a large pan and fry meatballs in it over medium low heat. When they are almost done after about 10 minutes, you can pour the tomatoes over them. Add in garlic, red pepper flakes and salt. Let it simmer.
- Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the package directions and drain.
- When the sauce gets thicker after about 10 minutes of simmering, add in the cooked pasta and stir well.
- Preheat oven to 370F.
- Pour half of the meatballs and pasta into a baking dish, top with half of the grated mozzarella and pour the rest of the meatballs and pasta. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and top with the other half of the cheese and bake until the cheese melts. Serve immediately.