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Baked Ziti with Meatballs

Baked ziti with meatballs in blue baking dish.

Baked Ziti with Meatballs is an easy weeknight dinner that you can have on the table quickly. Using homemade or store-bought meatballs, this cheesy casserole will soon become a family favourite!

Ingredients

Meatballs

1 and 1/2 lbs. ground pork

1 and 1/2 lbs. ground beef

2 cups dried breadcrumbs

1/2 cup milk

3 eggs

1 small onion, chopped

1 tsp Italian seasoning

3 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

to assemble casserole

500g Ziti pasta, cooked and drained

6 cups (2 jars) marinara sauce

2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

3 to 4 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley (flat leaf Italian or curly)

4 tbsp. fresh Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions

  1. Place ground pork and ground beef in a large mixing bowl. 
  2. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the meat, followed by the milk. Let the milk soak into the breadcrumbs for about two minutes while you chop the onions.
  3. Add in the finely chopped onion, eggs, freshly grated Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, garlic, salt, pepper and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. (I like to mix my meatballs using clean hands. Rings off and stored in a safe spot! Alternatively, you can use a wooden spoon).
  5. Mix gently and until everything is mixed in. Be careful not to over mix!
  6. Shape into 2-inch balls and place on baking sheet lightly brushed with olive oil.
  7. Bake in 425°F for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, halfway through.
  8. Check to ensure that meatballs are cooked completely. They should no longer be pink inside.
  9. This will make 48 meatballs and you will only need 24 for the recipe.  You can store cooled meatballs in ziplock bags in the fridge up to three days or in the freezer for up to 2 months).
  10. To assemble: Place drained pasta in large mixing bowl along with 24 meatballs. Pour the marinara sauce overtop and stir gently until coated completely with sauce.
  11. Transfer to a lightly oiled 9x13-inch baking dish.
  12. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  13. Bake in 375°F oven for 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling.
  14. Sprinkle with fresh parsley and a few tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Notes

  1. Ingredients Substitutions:Meatballs - I have written the recipe with ground pork/beef mixture.  I try to by lean meat whenever possible.  You can also use all beef for the meatballs or a beef/pork/veal combination. 
  2. Breadcrumbs - you can use fresh, homemade breadcrumbs or the boxed variety, either plain or with Italian seasoning. 
  3. Milk - use any kind of milk in the meatballs.
  4. Meatballs - I've included the recipe for homemade meatballs. Alternatively, you can also use store bought fresh or frozen meatballs.  If you choose to do so, heat the meatballs in sauce over low heat while the ziti pasta noodles are cooking, and proceed with the recipe.
  5. Storage: store cooled, leftover meatballs in the refrigerator for a few days or you can freeze them by placing in a ziplock bag for up to two months.
  6. Storage: store leftover Baked Ziti with Meatballs, covered in the refrigerator for up to three days.  

Keywords: Baked Ziti with Meatballs