So I am gonna need a moment. Have you ever been super excited about sharing a recipe with your friend? Well, I’m here because I wouldn’t be your friend if I didn’t share this with you guys. This simple, comforting and super delicious dish is perfect for weeknight dinner or a fancy date night. I mean how can you go wrong with giant meatball baked ziti- Loaded with cheese, pasta, and tender meatballs, this bake guarantees that every plate will be wiped clean. I can personally vouch for that- I might have had seconds, let’s be honest thirds last night.
So I decided to give in. I have been craving this baked ziti situation. This wasn’t like my usual food craving. Oh no, this was an “I woke up thinking about ziti, thought about it from 7 am until 5 pm” kinda deal. So obviously, I headed straight to the grocery store. And I made a mad dash for everything and headed home to fulfill what felt like a life or death situation.
So this sauce…. If you can skip the jar stuff. Fresh marinara is so much better. I think the basil packets helped to elevated the sauce to another level.
So imagine how I felt knowing that a hot, bubbly pan of delicious baked ziti with homemade giant meatballs were just minutes away!! I stayed close to the oven. I really should learn some more patience.
A fresh and super fast dinner, this recipe combines ziti, giant meatballs, marinara sauce, and mozzarella in just under 30 minutes. Needless to say, I was happy last night. Bonus: I am so happy that I also have leftovers today.
- 1 lb. Ziti
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1/4 c. panko breadcrumbs
- 2 garlic cloves chopped
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. canola oil
- 1/2 cup stock
- 1 24 oz. can whole tomatoes, smashed
- 3 Dorot parsley cube
- 3 Dorot basil cubes
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella grated
- 1/8 or a pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- fresh parsley and basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until al dente. Gently combine ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper in a bowl; shape into 6 giant meatballs or 14 regular meatballs.
Heat oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until brown on all sides, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in stock, gently scraping up brown bits from the bottom of the skillet. Stir in whole tomato, tomato paste, red pepper flakes, parsley cube, and basil cube; bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and fold in pasta.
Top with grated cheese. Bake until cheese is melted and edges are bubbly, 25 minutes.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving- trust me. Garnish with parsley and basil.