Thursday, June 25, 2015

Meatball and Ziti Bake

A delicious classic! This tasty pasta is loaded with meatballs and weeknight easy!

I love pasta - particularly because most pasta dishes are easily a one pot meal! I'm all about easy on a busy weeknight. This particular pasta is not loaded with cream, cheese, or even empty carbs so I had no guilt chowing down on a big bowlful.

Most households with children would especially love it. It's even easy enough for kids to help cook!

Meatball & Ziti Bake
6 ounces uncooked whole-wheat ziti
1/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons minced garlic, divided
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces 90% lean ground sirloin
1 large egg
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat broiler to high.

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup cooking water.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the panko, 1 tablespoon garlic, 1/4 teaspoon salt, black pepper, ground beef, and egg. Mix until just combined - don't overmix. Shape into 1 inch meatballs and set aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, browning on all sides. Add remaining 1 tablespoon garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add reserved 1/2 cup cooking water, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, 3 tablespoons basil, crushed red pepper, and tomatoes to pan. Reduce heat to medium; cover and simmer 15 minutes.

Stir pasta into tomato mixture and spread evenly. Sprinkle cheese over top. Broil 1 minute or until cheese melts. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon basil before serving.

Source: adapted from Cooking Light

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