I’m excited to introduce you to a dish that’ll have your taste buds doing a happy dance: Baked Ziti with Meatballs! Picture this: tender, juicy meatballs nestled in a bed of perfectly cooked ziti pasta, all smothered in a luscious tomato sauce and topped with a blanket of melty, gooey cheese. Are you drooling yet? Because I sure am!
Baked Ziti With Meatballs
‘Here’s what you’ll need to create this comforting, crowd-pleasing dish:
- 1 pound of ziti pasta (or any short pasta you have on hand)
- 1 pound of ground beef (or a mix of ground beef and ground pork, if you prefer)
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs (plain or Italian seasoned)
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese (plus extra for serving, because more cheese is always a good idea)
- 2 cloves of garlic (minced)
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 egg (beaten)
- Salt and pepper (to taste)
- 3 cups of marinara sauce (homemade or store-bought)
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese (because melted cheese makes everything better)
Now that we’ve gathered our ingredients, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get cooking!
- First things first, preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). While the oven is doing its thing, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the ziti pasta according to the package instructions until al dente. You want it to have a slight bite since it will continue cooking in the oven later. Drain the pasta and set it aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, beaten egg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Mix everything together using your hands (yes, it’s a bit messy, but trust me, it’s worth it!). Once the ingredients are well combined, shape the mixture into bite-sized meatballs. I like to go for golf ball-sized meatballs, but you can adjust the size to your preference.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Carefully place the meatballs in the skillet, making sure not to overcrowd them. Brown the meatballs on all sides, turning them gently with tongs. Once they’re nicely browned, pour in the marinara sauce, coating the meatballs evenly. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.
- Now, let’s assemble this mouthwatering dish! Grab a baking dish and spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Next, add half of the cooked ziti pasta, followed by half of the meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded mozzarella cheese over the meatballs. Repeat the layers with the remaining ziti pasta, meatballs, sauce, and finish with another generous sprinkle of mozzarella cheese on top.
- Pop the baking dish into the preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown. Oh, that glorious sight! Remove the dish from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. It’s time to dig in, my friends!
Serve your Meatball Baked Ziti with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of fresh parsley for that final touch of flavor and freshness. Grab a big serving spoon, dish out generous portions onto plates, and get ready to indulge in a cheesy, meatball-filled pasta paradise.
Pasta Dinner Ideas
The combination of tender meatballs, perfectly cooked pasta, and gooey cheese all smothered in a rich marinara sauce is simply irresistible. Every bite is a symphony of flavors that will have you coming back for more.
This Baked Ziti is a fantastic dish to feed a hungry crowd or to enjoy as a comforting family dinner. It’s perfect for those evenings when you want something hearty and satisfying without spending hours in the kitchen. Plus, it’s a great make-ahead dish that you can assemble in advance and bake when you’re ready to serve.
Now, I must warn you: this dish is highly addictive. Once you experience the incredible combination of flavors and textures, you’ll find yourself craving it again and again. It’s the kind of dish that brings people together, makes them smile, and leaves them satisfied.
Baked Ziti with Meatballs Recipe
- 1 pound of ziti pasta
- 1 pound of ground beef (or a mix of ground beef and ground pork)
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs (plain or Italian seasoned)
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup of fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 egg, beaten
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 3 cups of marinara sauce
- 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
- Cook the ziti pasta according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, chopped parsley, beaten egg, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
- Shape the mixture into bite-sized meatballs.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a drizzle of olive oil. Brown the meatballs on all sides, then pour in the marinara sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes.
- In a baking dish, spread a thin layer of marinara sauce on the bottom. Add half of the cooked ziti pasta, followed by half of the meatballs and sauce. Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the meatballs. Repeat the layers with the remaining pasta, meatballs, sauce, and top with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh parsley on top.