Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta Bake with Meatballs

casserole dish of pasta and meatballs topped with melted cheese

 

casserole dish of pasta and meatballs topped with melted cheese

Only pasta bakes with meatballs for me

I was never a big fan of casseroles.  Casseroles from my childhood were often times mushy, homogenous and bland despite being doctored with cans of condensed soup. I mean, has anyone actually sat down and let their taste buds decide whether that is a good idea?  What’s the point?  You could easily throw together a better-tasting meal complete with entrée and side dishes in the same amount of time it takes to bake that monstrosity.

However, big casseroles make my husband’s heart skip a beat and because this family practices democratic ideals (and meals), I am not completely heartless. I oblige his food wishes from time to time but only on my food-fascist terms.   These rules are fairly simple and gastronomically pure: the dish must be tasty, not made with too many processed food ingredients and I decide what goes on top.

So, after some brainstorming, I concocted this recipe of roasted tomato and red pepper pasta bake with meatballs.  This is a tasty and fairly straightforward meal.   The sauce is easy to make and packs a tasty punch.  Toss it with pasta and meatballs then coat it in cheese and what a stunner.  The result is a family favorite which has forced me to reconsider the appeal of the good old-fashioned casserole.  BUT only if they come with meatballs…

 

casserole dish of pasta and meatballs topped with melted cheese

 

 

 

raw chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic in casserole dish
Roughly chop up red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic cloves and place in a baking tray. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs. Add a splash of red wine and toss until everything is evenly coated. Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour at 450F/220C.
cooked chopped tomatoes, bell peppers and garlic in casserole dish
When finished roasting, puree the red pepper and tomato mixture using a blender or food processor until smooth.
sauce simmering in pot
Transfer to a medium-large saucepan and cook on medium heat until bubbly.
sauce simmering in pot with meatballs
When the red pepper and tomato sauce is bubbly, add the browned meatballs, cover with a lid and let cook in the sauce for 10-12 minutes or until cooked through. (I like my meatballs to taste like meat so I add just enough egg and breadcrumbs to keep the mixture together. If you don’t feel the same way, feel free to add more egg and breadcrumbs.)
pasta, meatballs and sauce in casserole dish
Cook the pasta until al dente, drain thoroughly. Add to sauce mixture with meatballs and gently fold it all together.
casserole dish of pasta bake with meatballs and cheese
Transfer pasta mixture to a baking tray, top with your favorite shredded cheese and bake in the oven at 450F/220C for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and brown and the pasta has soaked up some of the sauce.

 

 

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casserole dish of pasta and meatballs topped with melted cheese

Red Pepper and Tomato Pasta Bake with Meatballs


  • Author: Spicepaw
  • Total Time: 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings 1x

Description

Roasted red bell pepper and tomato pasta bake with meatballs topped with cheese and baked to bubbly goodness. Comfort food at its finest. #casserole #pasta #familydinners #meatballs


Ingredients

Scale

Sauce

3 red bell peppers

45 medium red tomatoes

1 head of garlic

1 tbsp dried Italian herbs

splash of red wine

23 tbsp olive oil

Meatballs

350 g (~12 oz) pork mince

350 g (~12 oz) beef mince

1 tsp onion powder

2 cloves of garlic (minced)

pinch of chili flakes (optional)

1 tbsp dried Italian herbs

1 tbsp finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 egg

2 tbsp breadcrumbs (or just enough to hold the meat together)

1 tsp sea salt

black pepper

grated cheese (whatever is your favorite with as much and as little as you like)

500 g (~18 oz) pasta (uncooked)


Instructions

Sauce

  1. Roughly chop up red bell peppers, tomatoes and garlic cloves and place in a baking tray.  Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, pepper and Italian herbs.  Add a splash of red wine and toss until everything is evenly coated.   Place in the oven and cook for 1 hour at 450F/220C.
  2. When finished roasting, puree the red pepper and tomato mixture using a blender or food processor until smooth.  Transfer to a medium-large saucepan and cook on medium heat until bubbly.

Meatballs

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add together all ingredients and thoroughly combine.  Using your hands, shape the mixture into balls 1 in/2 cm in diameter. (I like my meatballs to taste like meat so I add just enough egg and breadcrumbs to keep the mixture together.  If you don’t feel the same way, feel free to add more egg and breadcrumbs.)
  2. Add a tablespoon or two to a saute or frying pan over medium-high heat.  Add meatballs and cook until seared and browned on all sides. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. When the red pepper and tomato sauce is bubbly, add the browned meatballs, cover with a lid and let cook in the sauce for 5-6 minutes or until cooked through.

Pasta Bake

  1. Cook the pasta until al dente, drain thoroughly.  Add to sauce mixture with meatballs and gently fold it all together.  Transfer pasta mixture to a baking tray, top with your favorite shredded cheese and bake in the oven at 450F/220C for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and brown and the pasta has soaked up some of the sauce.

Notes

  1.  To avoid dry meatballs, use meat with a little bit more fat on it.  You want just enough fat to keep them juicy but not too much fat that it’ll make the sauce greasy when poaching them.
  • Prep Time: 75
  • Cook Time: 20
  • Category: Pasta
  • Method: roasting, baking
  • Cuisine: Western

Keywords: Pasta Bake, meatballs, casserole, noodles, pasta, tomato, red pepper, cheese, Italian

corkscrew pasta baked in sauce with meatballs and melted cheese topping
Served hot or as cold leftovers the next day, this pasta bake with meatballs is good anytime of the day or night.

 

More hearty dishes to take comfort in:

Mediterranean Lamb and Rice Stuffed Bell Peppers

Yemini Inspired Spicy Lamb and Butter Bean Stew

Pork Loin Roasted with Bacon, Apple and Sage

 

Author: Natasha

I'm just a busy expat mom who has a psychological need to feed people. I enjoy learning about new cultures, (especially the food) and enjoy experimenting with new ingredients and spices

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