Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs.

Happy Friday, everyone!  This blog update is actually a two-fer.

A few weeks ago, we had some spaghetti and meatballs that a friend had made.  Turns out, the Fruitaholic really went crazy for the meatballs.  When I asked my friend for the recipe the other day, she kind of laughed and said that they were from Trader Joes!

So, I was all set to run over to TJ’s to stock my freezer when I came across a recipe for a pasta bake with mini meatballs.  BINGO.  I had found tonight’s dinner, and already had most of the ingredients at home.

I tweaked the recipe a bit for both the meatballs and the pasta bake and they came out great. I added an entire bag of baby spinach, which allowed me to “sneak” another vegetable into the Fruitaholic’s diet.  I’m really glad that we decided to split the dish into two small casserole dishes and freeze one so that we have another one waiting for a day when I’m too lazy to cook!  We used all of the meatballs in the pasta bake (except for the 6 or so that the Fruitaholic gobbled down) so I’m going to make another batch for the freezer this weekend.

This recipe can be made even healthier by using whole wheat pasta, adding additional vegetables, and subbing ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef.  It’s super adaptable, which I love!

Baked Meatballs – inspired by The Parsley Thief

  • - 1 Lb Ground Beef
    - 1/2 Cup Panko
    - 1/4 Cup Parmesan
    - 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
    - 1 Egg, Lightly Beaten
    - Generous Splash of Milk
    - Generous Splash of Worchestershire
    - Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat oven to 425.

Combine all ingredients and mix gently by hand.  Form into balls (size of your choice) and place on a lightly oiled, foil lined baking sheet.  Bake for 12-25 minutes, until browned and cooked through.

Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs – inspired by and adapted from The Parsley Thief

  • - 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
    - 1 Onion, Chopped
    - 4 Cloves Garlic, Smashed and Sliced
    - 1 Can Diced Tomatoes, Drained
    - 1 Jar Pasta Sauce
    - 1 Box Rigatoni, Cooked Al Dente
    - 1 16 oz Bag Baby Spinach, Chopped
    - 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley, Chopped
    - 1 Container Ricotta
    - 1/4 Cup Parmesan
    - 1 Container Baby Mozzarella Balls, Halved
    - Baked Meatballs (see above recipe)
    - 1 Pinch Nutmeg
    - Salt and Pepper, To Taste

Preheat oven to 350.

Warm olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.  Add tomatoes and cook 10 minutes.  Reduce heat to low, add sauce and cook an additional 10 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine spinach, parsley, ricotta, parmesan and nutmeg.  Add pasta, meatballs and sauce and mix to combine.  Reserve some sauce for serving.

Transfer to baking dish and top with mozzarella.  Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove foil and bake until browned, about 5 minutes.

Related posts:

One Response to Baked Rigatoni with Spinach and Meatballs.

  1. Pingback: Recipe Swap! Baked Campanelle with Spinach and Meatballs « Musings of a Part Time Housewife

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>