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.
I was so glad that I found Dorot at Trader Joe’s. I have a problem with having the right fresh herbs on hand. So having Dorot packages in my freezer makes everything so much easier.
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.
Giant Meatball Baked Ziti
- 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.
You make the best sauces- seriously. I made this last night- it was very good. I never heard of dorot before. My herbs always turn before I can use them all up. Super handy!!