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Baking tray with pasta, meatballs and melted cheese

Meatball pasta bake

  • Author: Pip Payne
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


Rich chilli, garlic and tomato meatballs baked with penne, mozzarella and parmesan for a satisfyingly delicious pasta bake!


Healthy Extra: A (1 per portion)


  • 500 g 5% fat beef mince
  • low calorie cooking spray or spray oil
  • 2 tins (400g each) chopped tomatoes
  • 5 cloves garlic (peeled)
  • 1 whole green chilli (stalk removed (leave seeds in if you like extra hot, I do))
  • 300 g penne pasta
  • 150 g mozzarella
  • 30 g Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • basil and red chilli to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Make up the meatballs by simply rolling the mince into walnut -sized balls. Fry them over a high heat in a non-stick frying pan (using either low calorie cooking spray or spray oil) for 5 minutes, turning them often to brown on all sides.
  2. To make the sauce, use a hand-blender or a food processor to whizz up the tomatoes, garlic and chilli. Blend until completely smooth, then season with salt and pepper.
  3. Transfer the sauce to a saucepan, bring up to a simmer and then add the cooked meatballs
  4. Simmer the sauce and meatballs gently for 30 minutes
  5. Meanwhile, cook the pasta for 12 minutes, drain, then rinse with cold water to prevent it getting sticky.
  6. Once the sauce has cooked for 30 minutes, stir the pasta through and spoon it all into an ovenproof dish.
  7. Tear up the mozzarella and distribute it evenly over the top, then sprinkle over the Parmesan. Grind some more black pepper on top.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is golden brown on top. Serve up with torn basil leaves torn on top, and chopped red chilli (if using).


Want a nice vegetable side dish with this? I would serve up with courgette fried until slightly golden, rocket, and roasted peppers.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 50 minutes
  • Category: Main course
  • Method: Easy
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: meatball, pasta, traybake, Italian recipe