• Cheyenne Crennan

Two-Tone Meatball Casserole

Sometimes you just need a new take on the same ingredients that we almost always have stocked in the pantry, like frozen meatballs, and a box of rotini.

The best way to make frozen meatballs, if you can't use a slow cooker, or pressure cooker is, in a large pan and copious amount of marinara sauce (it absorbs). Rotini is just twirly ziti and ziti is casserole pasta. You may be surprised to know that I HATE using unless it's in a pasta salad. I would use ground beef in a baked ziti, but we have these meatballs and we're doing the only thing I could think of to make meatballs and rotini go together in my head. Casserole.

And not just regular casserole because this entire thing is random and needs something to bind it together, so naturally we're tossing the pasta in Alfredo. Making it a two-toned casserole with basically all things pasta. Add fresh sliced mozzarella, and sprinkle the entire thing with breadcrumbs. Bake and get melty and toasty. This turned out to be the tastiest thing I've eaten in so long, and probably because it was different than the norm, but when you spend so much time at home, and you want to use the things you have before going to the store, you need to change the norm.

Wait, you don't keep a batch of Alfredo in your fridge at all times?

What you need:

1 box of any pasta, aside from long pasta

1 bag of frozen meatballs

a jar of marinara sauce, any kind you like, or homemade

a jar of Alfredo, any kind you like, or homemade

a sleeve of ritz crackers, crushed and seasoned with Italian seasoning, or just bread crumbs to sprinkle over the top before baking

fresh mozzarella, sliced

How to make it:

  1. Cook the frozen meatballs, coated in half the jar of sauce, in a large pan, covered. Heat on low/medium

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, salt, then add the box of pasta. Cook to al dente.

  3. Pre-heat oven to 475 degrees.

  4. Remove the pan of meatballs from heat, and set aside, covered.

  5. Drain the pasta, let cool for 2 minutes.

  6. Grease a baking dish.

  7. Coat the cooked pasta in Alfredo sauce. I do half in Alfredo and half in the remaining marinara, because my kids don't like Alfredo and thats the beauty of "two-toned" pasta.

  8. Pour the sauced pasta into the baking dish. If you are doing both marinara and Alfredo to dress the pasta spoon Alfredo on one side and marinara on the other side of the dish, splitting down the middle as best you can.

  9. Spoon the cooked meatballs into and on top of the pasta.

  10. Shove the sliced mozzarella into the pasta and some on top.

  11. Finish by sprinkling breadcrumbs over the top of the dish and bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheesy is visibly toasting and melty.

  12. Garnish with basil and enjoy!

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