You might know by now that I love a dump-and-bake casserole, but this one is almost too good to be true. Like the other versions out there, there’s no precooking needed – you dump all your ingredients in, give them a stir, pop the whole thing in the oven, and your work is done. This dump-and-bake is no different… except that it involves meatballs! Annnd tender curly pasta and plenty of cheesiness. (And yes, I meant it when I said no precooking.)
So how does that even work? Well, you only need five ingredients here and that’s thanks to the convenience of good ol’ storebought meatballs. Along with some pasta (we’ve used cavatapi), some marinara, and Parmesan and mozzarella, they make for a hearty dish that’s as comforting to the tastebuds as it is the soul.
You don’t need to thaw the meatballs. You don’t need to sear them. You just stir them up with the pasta, sauce, and a bit of water and bake it until the pasta is al dente. They cook through perfectly in the sauce and absorb some of that tomato flavor (and so does the pasta).
Then, you top it with cheese and put it back in the oven until the cheese is all melted and bubbly. And then you eat. That’s all there is to it. You don’t even have to boil a single noodle!
Dump and Bake Meatball Casserole
Serves 6 45 minutes
- 1 (16 oz) package cavatapi pasta, uncooked
- 1 (25 oz) jar marinara sauce
- 3 cups water
- 1 (14 oz) package cooked meatballs (no need to thaw)
- 1 1/2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Preheat oven to 425°F.
- Add the uncooked pasta, marina sauce, water, and meatballs to a 9x13-inch baking dish and stir to combine. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 minutes.
- Uncover dish, stir, and check to see if pasta is al dente. If it's still hard, cover dish again and continue baking until pasta is cooked.
- Once pasta is al dente, uncover dish, sprinkle mozzarella and parmesan cheese over the top and bake until cheese is melted, 5-10 minutes more.
Recipe adapted from Recipe Lion.