Sunday, April 3, 2011

Baked Pasta and Meatballs

We are in beautiful Williamsburg, Virginia and we are here to relax and enjoy ourselves this week.

The reenactments in Revolutionary City are amazing. 

Colonial Williamsburg is so educational and beautiful.  Look at this garden.  I am jealous.

Hehe.  I want one of these.  :-) 

While we are wandering around the town and kicking back in our condo, we were on a budget. This is where the freezer bag of sauce and meatballs is going to go a long way to making an amazing dinner in a matter of minutes.  Here is my board of ingredients.  You can use any pasta that you would like, but I found these mini penne pasta shapes and I thought they were great.  

I started a large pot of boiling water and put a colander in the sink to drain the pasta.

A tablespoon of salt for the pasta water is very important.  I brought salt from home.   

Add the salt to your boiling water.

Add the pasta and stir for a few moments.  Cook the pasta according to package directions.

Look at our perfectly cooked al dente pasta.  But wait don't drain it just yet.

Save some of that salty, starchy water before you dump the pasta into the colander.

Drain the pasta and then add it back to the pan you just cooked it in.  Make sure you have turned off the heat though.

Add the thawed bag of Willow Cottage Tomato Sauce to the pasta.

Stir it all up.  It already looks good.

But since we are going to throw this in the oven and bake it, we are going to use a little of that salty water to make sure that there is plenty of moisture in the baked pasta.  Trust me.  Please forgive the picture below.  It just looks yucky...but I was trying to show you that I had added the water. 

Next whip out your pan. 

Add half of your sauced pasta to the pan and spread it out evenly.

Add Willow Cottage Meatballs and spread them out evenly over the pasta. 

Then add a generous layer of cheese.  I am using shredded mozzarella, but you can use what ever you would like.

Add the rest of the sauced pasta.

Finally add another layer of cheese to the pasta and it is ready for the oven.  Bake at 350° for 30 minutes.

And this is what you get.  It is so good.  It took me about fifteen minutes to assemble and it was so delicious. 

I served this with garlic bread and a salade, but the salade did not make it into this picture.  All I can say is that bring a couple of bags of prepared food from home sure made a quick and delicious meal for our vacation.  It was so yummy.  I made a double batch of the following recipe and it made one dinner and two lunches for us.  :-) 

Baked Pasta


1 Batch of thawed Willow Cottage Tomato Sauce
1 Batch of thawed Willow Cottage Turkey Meatballs
1 Pound Pasta
1 Pound Grated Mozzarella Cheese


1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water before draining the pasta.

2. Drain pasta and put pasta back into the cooking pot. Add the sauce and reserved cooking water from the pasta and mix well. .

3. In a casserole dish add half of the sauced pasta in an even layer. Add the meatballs in an even layer and then add the cheese. Layer the rest of the pasta and a second layer of cheese.

4. Bake the pasta in a 350° oven for thirty minutes or until the pasta is heated through. Serve immediately. Serves 4 generous portions.

For a printer friendly version of this recipe click here.

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