Penne Meatball Casserole

This Penne Meatball Casserole is one of my absolute favorites. Just like a Lasagna but a little easier to make. Love the Gooey cheese.

penne meatball casserole

I love a good casserole. Especially when it has pasta, meat and a bunch of gooey cheese. And this Penne Meatball Casserole does not disappoint!

One of the primary things I like about this casserole recipe is how easy it is to make. If you can boil water then you can make this meatball casserole. Since this casserole uses frozen meatballs, it really is simple to make.

penne meatball casserole

I wanted to make this penne meatball casserole as Italian as I could which is why I used Italian Style Meatballs but you can basically use what kind you want. Use what you got on hand.

fresh basil leaves
Fresh Basil Leaves

When making pasta, it’s important to cook the pasta al dente to ensure to best texture possible. If you are not familiar with the term “al dente”, it means cooking the pasta so it’s still chewy and firm and that it will hold its shape when the sauce is added to it.

If there was one ingredient you could leave out without changing the overall flavor of this casserole would be the red pepper. While I like the flavor it adds to this dish, in a pinch you could skip that ingredient.

penne meatball casserole

You will need the following ingredients to make this Penne Meatball Casserole recipe (see recipe card for quantities): Olive Oil, Garlic Cloves, Fennel Seeds, Pasta Sauce, Fresh Basil, Tomato Paste, Ricotta Cheese, Red Bell Pepper, Parmesan Cheese, Eggs, Kosher Salt, Penne Pasta, Frozen Italian Style Meatballs and Mozzarella Cheese.

  1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
  3. Stir in the pasta sauce, 1/4 cup fresh basil and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes.
  4. In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, roasted peppers, Parmesan, eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup basil.
    ricotta cheese mixture
  5. Cook the penne pasta al dente according to the directions on the package.
  6. Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce in the bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the cooked pasta, half of the remaining tomato sauce, all of the ricotta mixture, the remaining pasta, all the meatballs and the remaining sauce.
    pasta sauce in dish
    penne pasta on pasta sauce in dish
    ricotta cheese mixture
    meatballs and penne in dish
  7. Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
    penne meatball casserole
  9. Optionally garnish with fresh basil.

Printable Recipe Card

penne meatball casserole

Penne Meatball Casserole

This Penne Meatball Casserole is one of my absolute favorites. Just like a Lasagna but a little easier to make. Love the Gooey cheese.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Resting Time 10 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 8
Calories 538 kcal

Equipment

  • Saucepan
  • Baking Dish
  • Skillet
  • Bowl for Mixing

Ingredients
 

  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • ½ Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • 48 oz Pasta Sauce
  • ¾ Cup Fresh Basil, chopped
  • ¼ Cup Tomato Paste
  • 15 oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper, roasted and finely chopped
  • 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
  • 2 Eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Tsp Kosher Salt
  • 16 oz Penne Pasta
  • 14 oz Frozen Italian Style Meatballs, thawed
  • 2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
Garnish (Optional)
  • Fresh Basil

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray. Set aside.
  • In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds. Cook, stirring constantly for 1 minute.
    2 Tbsp Olive Oil, 3 Garlic Cloves, 1/2 Tsp Fennel Seeds
  • Stir in the pasta sauce, 1/4 cup fresh basil and tomato paste. Cook, stirring frequently for 10-15 minutes.
    48 oz Pasta Sauce, 3/4 Cup Fresh Basil, 1/4 Cup Tomato Paste
  • In a medium bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, roasted peppers, Parmesan, eggs, salt, and remaining 1/2 cup basil.
    15 oz Ricotta Cheese, 1 Cup Red Bell Pepper, 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, 2 Eggs, 1 Tsp Kosher Salt, 3/4 Cup Fresh Basil
  • Cook the penne pasta al dente according to the directions on the package.
    16 oz Penne Pasta
  • Spread 1 cup tomato sauce in bottom of the baking dish. Top with half of the cooked pasta, half of remaining tomato sauce, all of the ricotta mixture, the remaining pasta, all the meatballs and the remaining sauce.
    14 oz Frozen Italian Style Meatballs
  • Cover the dish with foil. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the shredded mozzarella cheese.
    2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese
  • Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.
  • Optionally garnish with fresh basil.

Nutrition

Calories: 538kcalCarbohydrates: 57gProtein: 28gFat: 22gSaturated Fat: 11gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 0.004gCholesterol: 99mgSodium: 1602mgPotassium: 871mgFiber: 5gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 2146IUVitamin C: 38mgCalcium: 453mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information provided for this recipe is based on 1 serving. This information is an estimate and may vary based on several factors. If nutritional information is important to you and your diet, please verify this recipe with a Registered Dietitian.

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One Comment

  1. Mac says:

    This meatball casserole is to die for. I am not a fan of ricotta cheese, but decided to make it as my family loves ricotta cheese. It turned out excellent and had a great flavour.

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