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  • Laura

Baked Ziti with Meatballs

There’s something so comforting about a big bowl of baked pasta. While it’s something to be enjoyed in these cold months I took this recipe one step further by adding in some mini meatballs. I love the addition of more protein in here.

This dish with a green salad and you’re good to go! I love having something like this on hand when company comes over or we’re hosting last minute. I also love freezer meals for the reality of life with little kids. If you think meals in your freezer and only for big crowds, think again. Making a few batches of something and having them in your freezer will save you many a night. We eat out of the freezer often!

This recipe is also something that can be made in smaller portions. I always recommend allowing dishes like this to defrost in your fridge the night before. If you are using this last minute you’ll want to increase the baking time by at least 30 minutes checking the middle to ensure that the center is warm before serving!

Ingredients You’ll Need:

  • 1 lb penne pasta

  • 1 Tablespoon butter

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 32 ounce jars marinara sauce

  • 1 teaspoons Italian spices

  • 1 32 ounce bag frozen mini meatballs

  • 16 ounce ricotta cheese

  • ½ cup parmesan cheese

  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese

  1. Boil a pot of water for you pasta and bake al dente according to the package directions.

  2. Meanwhile make the sauce by sautéing the onion in the butter and olive oil for about 5 minutes and then adding in the garlic for about 2 minutes. Next add your marinara sauce and the Italian spices. Simmer for 10 minutes.

  3. In a separate bowl mix 16 ounces of ricotta with ½ cup parmesan and set aside.

  4. In a large bowl add your drained cooked pasta and 2 cups of your sauce. Next add the ricotta mixture and stir to combine.

  5. In a 9x13 dish add a layer of the pasta then sprinkle with several meatballs. Pour over some sauce and then ½ cup mozzarella and ¼ cup of parmesan. Add another layer of noodles, meatballs, sauce, and cheese.

  6. At this point you can freeze until you’re ready to bake it or bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes until bubbly.

*Note- If you’re baking this the day you make it I would recommend adding the meatballs to your sauce before you simmer it so they start cooking in the sauce!


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