OH MY! This was SO DELICIOUS. I actually have to use all caps because it was THAT GOOD. I was craving small meatballs and pasta so I decided to make spaghetti and meatballs. I then realized I only had penne pasta, so I made my version of a baked ziti instead. This is my new favorite pasta dish. The sauce was tangy, a bit sweet, and full of garlic and mushrooms while the meatballs were extra tender and moist. It was absolutely fantastic. We had friends over for dinner and everyone loved this meal.
How to Make Baked Penne with Meatballs
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
- 6 oz of button or cremini mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 3-4 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp fennel seeds, crushed
- 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
- Sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and mushrooms and saute until tender; add the garlic and cook for 60 seconds, stirring frequently. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for at least 2 hours.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 7 button mushrooms, diced finely
- 1/4 sweet yellow onion, diced finely
- 1/4 cup of Italian style breadcrumbs
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tsp fennel seed, crushed
- Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- 1 tsp olive oil (for cooking)
Put the onions, garlic, and mushrooms in a food processor to chop, otherwise, chop them as small as you can. Combine all ingredients (except for olive oil) together gently. Form into small meatballs and set aside. Once the meatballs are prepared.
- Penne pasta, prepared per instructions
- 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 1 tbsp fresh basil
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Cook the pasta per instructions and drain. Pour the pasta into the sauce with the meatballs. Add the fresh basil and cheese – reserving a bit for the top, then mix VERY gently.
Top with remaining cheese and bake for 30 minutes. Enjoy!