This was an instant hit with my grandson. Anything to do with pasta and meatballs always seems to be a winner in his book. The recipe calls for prepackaged frozen meatballs and jarred marinara so it really does make for a pretty quick meal.
I usually make my own turkey meatballs instead of using the frozen, but I have been known to pull out packaged meatballs in a pinch.
If you want the meatballs to go a bit further go ahead and cut them in half. They made a pretty large mouthful for my grandson so cutting them in half ahead of time would probably have worked out better for him.
Penne Meatball Casserole
1 pound frozen mini meatballs
1/2 pound penne pasta
1 cup marinara sauce
1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake meatballs according to package instructions.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, add the pasta, and cook according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, and transfer it to a large bowl.
Add marinara sauce and mix well.
Mix ricotta and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl. Add 2 teaspoons dried parsley and freshly cracked black pepper (to taste) and mix well.
In a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish layer half of the pasta mixture. Evenly distribute half of the meatballs and nestling down in to the pasta.
Spread the ricotta cheese mixture over the pasta and meatballs and layer the remaining pasta over the cheese.
Evenly distribute the remaining meatballs as before.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and evenly sprinkle mozzarella over top and place back in oven. Bake, uncovered, an additional 15-20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and starting to slightly turn brown.
Remove from oven and let sit 5-10 minutes before serving.
Makes 4-6 servings.