Dinners like this one are my very favorite.
For me, there is just nothing better than a big casserole and a salad on the side (with maybe a piece of crusty bread thrown in there too).
This is also the kind of recipe you can make on a regular old Tuesday night for your family or on a bigger occasion when you’re serving a crowd (because it would be easy to double!). To make things weeknight simple, I used a package of frozen chicken meatballs, but you could most certainly use homemade. Either way you do it, it will be delicious!
This recipe serves about six.
1 (1 pound bag) of fully cooked frozen (or refrigerated!) Italian-style meatballs (either pork, turkey or chicken)
1 (pound box) of penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
2 (8 oz) cans of tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can of diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
grated Parmesan cheese to garnish
chopped parsley to garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly spray a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray. Add all of your fully cooked and frozen (or refrigerated!) meatballs to the baking dish and spread them out. Set baking dish aside.
Bring a large pot of water up to a boil. Drop your pasta in and cook to al dente (about 7 to 8 minutes). Drain water from pasta once it’s cooked and reserve cooked pasta.
In a mixing bowl, stir together your tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and Italian seasoning. Pour this tomato mixture down over your hot, cooked pasta and toss together.
Next, you assemble: Pour your pasta with the sauce down over your meatballs in the baking dish. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese down over everything and pop this in your preheated oven to bake about 18 to 20 minutes or until it’s bubbly and the edges brown up a little bit. (I tried this once with frozen and once with refrigerated meatballs and they baked up the same.)
Once your casserole is browned and bubbly, remove it from the oven and garnish with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and some chopped parsley.
That’s it! So simple, so hearty and so darn good!