Okay, friends. I think it’s the snow. My promise to share healthy recipes is clearly out the window…at least for this week. I found this make-ahead-easy-Meatball Pasta Bake and thought, what the heck? It’s not healthy, but it sure looks good! And, if you need to bring a dinner to someone, this would do the trick for sure. It makes a ton! I’m thinking if you’re serving this to a family of 4-6, you could most definitely cut this recipe in half. I’ll round out this comfort casserole with some sliced baked zucchini and a small salad.
- 1 16 oz. package of penne pasta
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1 medium-sized fennel bulb, thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp. fennel seeds
- 2 24 oz. jars marinara sauce
- 2 14 oz. packages frozen beef meatballs, thawed
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 3/4 cup organic chicken broth
- 1 tsp. firmly packed orange zest
- 1 medium-sized bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 cup torn fresh basil
- 1 1/2 8 oz. packages fresh mozzarella cheese slices
- Garnish: fresh basil
- Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pasta according to package instructions.
- Sauté onion and fennel bulb in hot oil in a dutch oven or frying pan over medium heat 10 minutes or until tender.
- Add garlic and fennel seeds and sauté 1 minute.
- Stir in marinara sauce and next 6 ingredients; heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and stir in basil, cooked pasta, and salt to taste.
- Transfer to a lightly greased 13×9-inch baking dish. Place dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.
- Top with cheese. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes until bubbly.