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Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs

posted by Malinda Linnebur on October 27, 2017

Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs is pure comfort food! Tender and juicy meatballs baked in an easy homemade marinara sauce and cheesy pasta for the perfect meatball pasta!

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Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs is pure comfort food! Tender and juicy meatballs baked in an easy homemade marinara sauce and cheesy pasta for the perfect meatball pasta!Is it just me or does anyone else crave major comfort foods when the seasons change??  I know I sure do and I usually reach for pasta dishes to satisfy my craving.  And to make it even better, pasta dishes with lots of cheese like this cheesy Italian meatballs and pasta.  It has tender and juicy meatballs baked in an easy homemade marinara sauce and cheesy pasta to make the perfect meatball pasta recipe.

A few other great pasta dishes I have is this One Pot Italian Sausage Pasta, Cheese Ravioli in Creamy Mushroom Sauce, or this One Pot Bacon Alfredo. They always seem to go over great with anyone that tries them just like this Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs will! I mean, who can say no to cheese and pasta?

This Cheesy Italian Meatballs and Pasta is pure comfort food! Tender and juicy meatballs baked in an easy homemade pasta sauce and cheesy pasta.

I was trying to make this more of a grown-up mac and cheese dish but I just don’t feel like I could actually call it that.  The sauce bakes right into the cheesy pasta and creates this super creamy, luscious, saucy pasta dish.  It’s crazy good but I couldn’t call it mac and cheese.  It’s more like spaghetti and meatballs only better!

MY OTHER RECIPES

Some tips about this Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs:

  • Make ahead tips for the meatballs: You can make the meatballs, shape them and store them in the refrigerator overnight.  Don’t squish them together though.  Or after shaping them place them on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze until solid.  Then place in plastic freezer bag for up to 1 month.  To use, thaw in a single layer, covered, in the refrigerator.  You can also cook the meatballs as directed in the recipe then when they are cooled freeze them in a single layer until solid.  Once frozen place in a plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to 2 months.  To use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Make ahead tip for the sauce:  Combine all of the sauce ingredients and keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  (This actually makes the sauce a little more flavorful because the seasonings have more time to flavor the sauce.  You can also freeze the sauce for up to 3 months.  Just thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Another make ahead tip is to cool the baked pasta dish then wrap well in foil to prevent freezer burn and freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Can also use ground turkey in place of the ground beef.  Just be sure not to overcook so they don’t become too dry.
  • Don’t overwork the meat when combining the ingredients to make the meatballs.  Don’t use a mixer, use your hands!

The best recipe for pasta meatballs and cheesy! Eat this for dinner tonight!

Ingredients to make Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs:

  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Italian seasoning
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Dried basil
  • Tomato paste
  • Slice bread
  • Milk
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Salt and pepper
  • Ground beef
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • All purpose flour
  • Mozzarella

A few serving suggestions:  serve with a simple side salad and crusty bread to wipe up that awesome sauce.  Or serve with your favorite steamed vegetable and garlic bread.

Cheesy Italian Meatballs and Pasta

Prep Time 20:00 Cook Time 20:00 Serves 6     adjust servings

Cheesy Italian Pasta and Meatballs is pure comfort food! Tender and juicy meatballs baked in an easy homemade marinara sauce and cheesy pasta!

Ingredients

    PASTA SAUCE

    • 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
    • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
    • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
    • 1 teaspoon dried basil
    • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

    MEATBALLS

    • 1 slice bread, crust removed and cut into very small pieces
    • 1/4 cup milk
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 2 large eggs
    • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 pound ground beef

    CHEESY PASTA

    • 1 small onion, chopped
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 4 tablespoons butter
    • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
    • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 8 oz rigatoni or penne pasta, cooked

    Instructions

    Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.  Start cooking your pasta. 

    In a large bowl combine the ingredients for the pasta sauce and set aside.  

    In a large bowl combine the bread and milk.  Add the Parmesan, eggs, garlic, Italian seasoning salt and pepper and stir well to combine.  Add in the ground beef and mix to combine.  Don't overmix or your meatballs can become tough.  Form into twelve 2 inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and reduce heat to 375 degrees F.   

    While the meatballs are cooking prepare the cheesy pasta.  In a large 12 inch cast iron pan or other oven going skillet cook the onion, garlic and butter until the onion starts to soften.  Stir in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Stir in the milk and cook over medium low heat until it starts to thicken.  Remove from heat and stir in 2 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese.  Stir in the cooked and drained pasta.  Top with reserved pasta sauce.  Place meatballs on top then sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and Parmesan.  Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and bubbly and cheese is melted.   

    by

    Recipe Notes

    1. For make ahead tips see post.
    Nutrition Facts
    Serving Size
    Amount Per ServingAs Served
    Calories 778kcal Calories from fat 404
    % Daily Value
    Total Fat 45g69%
    Saturated Fat 23g115%
    Transfat 1g
    Cholesterol 199mg66%
    Sodium 1082mg45%
    Carbohydrate 50g17%
    Dietary Fiber 8g32%
    Sugars 14g
    Protein 44g

    Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs:

    Calories2000
    Total FatLess than65g
    Sat FatLess than25g
    CholesterolLess than300mg
    SodiumLess than2,400mg
    Total Carbohydrate300g
    Dietary Fiber25g

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      Comments

    • Danielle Green


      This looks incredibly appetizing, delicious and picture perfect! Can’t wait to try it.

    • Joyce V. Hansen


      they all look soooo good. great photos. Can you change the recipe for the Pressure cooker? I’ve become an Instant Pot junkie.

      • Julie Evink


        This hasn’t been tested in the IP. It would be tricky to get the meatballs and pasta to cook correctly for the same amount of time!

    • Cheryl Newton


      You had me at “cheesy”! But 1 question: when does the cooked pasta get mixed in? Thanks!

      • Malinda


        Thanks for asking and catching my mistake!! I fixed the recipe. 🙂

    • Malinda


      This a great family favorite!!

    • Darlene


      How much sauce is reserved for the top?

    • Valentina @Valentina's Corner


      This looks amazing. Pinning it for later!!

    • Melissa Howell


      This looks like the perfect meal for any day of the week!

      • Julie Evink


        You can’t go wrong with this one!

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