Meatball pasta bake
Rich chilli, garlic and tomato meatballs baked with penne, mozzarella and parmesan for a satisfyingly delicious pasta bake!
Meatballs make such a satisfying meal, and I love how this recipe is so simple, but still packed with flavour and delicious.
I’m all for time-saving in the kitchen, and I think that a really successful way to make a super flavoursome meatball sauce is to just blend all my sauce ingredients together raw, and then simmer them together! Not only does this save on chopping time, but the garlic blended into the tomato like this adds such deep flavour.
I have a food processor that does all the work for me, but if you don’t have one you can always use a hand blender, which will work fine to blend this sauce together.
There are only has 3 ingredients in the sauce (and if I’m doing it for the kids I leave the chilli out), but it tastes amazing. I think one of the reasons for this is that you whizz the garlic raw into the tomatoes rather than pre-frying it, so that flavour just spreads sweetly throughout all of the sauce.
The meatballs in this recipe are as basic as they get (ie just meat- no added breadcrumbs or seasoning), as the sauce has so much flavour that you really don’t need to mess around making fancy meatballs. If you prefer to jazz up your meatballs a bit you can always add some dried herbs and salt and pepper.
You can use any type of mince, pork, beef (or a mix), or turkey, just be sure to select the 5% fat or less version to keep this nice and lean.
If you are looking for a vegetarian alternative, there is an awesome vegetarian chickpea meatball recipe in my new book The Slimming Foodie:
You can use any pasta shape that you like for this- I prefer penne or rigatoni but other shapes will work perfectly too!
This meatball pasta bake is syn free on Slimming World and will feed 6 people.
Looking for more oven-baked recipes? Why not try:
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Meatball pasta bake
- 500 g 5% fat beef mince
- 2 tins chopped tomatoes
- 5 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 whole green chilli stalk removed (leave seeds in if you like extra hot, I do)
- salt and pepper to taste
- 400 g penne pasta
- 250 g mozzarella
- 30 g grated parmesan
- basil and red chilli to garnish
- Cooking spray or spray oil
- Preheat the oven to 180c. Make up the meatballs by simply rolling the mince into walnut -sized balls. Fry them in a non-stick frying pan (using either low calorie cooking spray or spray oil)on a high heat for 5 minutes.
- To make the sauce, use a hand-blender or a food processor to whizz up the tomatoes, garlic and chilli. Blend until completely smooth and then season with salt and pepper.
- Transfer the sauce to a saucepan, bring up to a simmer and then add the meatballs (once you have fried them for 5 minutes)
- Simmer the sauce and meatballs gently for 30 minutes
- While the sauce is simmering, cook the pasta for 12 minutes, drain, and then rinse through with cold water to prevent it getting sticky.
- Once the sauce has cooked for 30 minutes, stir the pasta through and spoon it all into an oven proof dish.
- Tear up the mozzarella and space evenly over the top, and sprinkle over the parmesan. Add some more black pepper on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown on top. Serve up with basil torn on top, and chopped red chilli sprinkled over.