Friday, March 5, 2010

Meatball Pasta Bake

This is a good one to make up in the morning, stash in the fridge, then bake an hour before dinnertime. All of my children (except the very serious, very hormonal, vegetarian) loved this. 
The egg and yogurt mixed into the sauce keeps the bake creamy (and healthy.) The meatballs are placed in raw, which is atypical, but they roast up beautifully during cooking time-- the juices they release during baking add to the overall flavour of the dish.
Don't be put off by the list of ingredients-- you will have most already in the cupboard.

1 pound dry pasta (big and round, like rigatoni)
1/2 pound minced, lean beef (lean ground beef)
1/2 pound flavourful sausage (whichever type you like to eat-- in the States: Italian sausage would be good)
1 cup beef stock (stock cube in boiling water is fine)
1 tablespoon tomato paste (in the UK: tomato puree)
1 tin (400 grams/14 ounces) chopped tomatoes
1 cup (400 grams) tomato passata (in the States: tomato puree)
1 small container plain, fat-free yogurt (150 grams/5 ounces)
1 large egg
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 -1 teaspoon salt
1-2 teaspoons dry oregano or Italian herb mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (not garlic salt)
Several turns of the black pepper mill
8 oz/420 grams cheese (cubed taleggio is nice, but strong-- shredded mozzarella or cheddar are good, too)
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (additional)

1) Cook the pasta according to package directions, but drain it 2 minutes BEFORE it is done.
2) While the pasta is cooking, mix the mince and sausage together and roll into small balls.
3) Mix the next 11 ingredients together (from the beef stock down to the pepper). Toss the drained pasta with the 'sauce' and scatter in the taleggio, mozzarella or cheddar. Oil or spray with non-stick spray a large baking or casserole dish (9" by 13" is just large enough) and tumble the dressed pasta in.
4) Snuggle in the meatballs, within and on top of the pasta, sprinkle more Parmesan cheese on top, cover and bake or stash in the refrigerator until ready to bake.

Bake, covered in a preheated oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour-- removing the foil or lid for the last 15 minutes to brown. Serve 8


tstout said...

hi -- we are good friends with Kathy and Darcy Williamson and they suggested we check this out. Your blog is delightful-- love the stories and the recipes. we served this one to Kathy and Darcy last night and it was yummy. But, you do not say at which temperature to bake it!! we improvised... but what temp do you recommend??

JennyB said...

So sorry that I forgot to include baking directions! Duh! not surprised that I did that, though (unfortunately).
Bake at 375F.
Thanks for reading!!