• Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 40 minutes
  • Serves: 8

Smoky Mozzarella Pasta and Meatball Bake

  • Recipe Submitted by on

 Ingredients List

  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the baking dish
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 (28-ounce) can diced fire-roasted tomatoes
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 ounces baby spinach
  • 2 (16-ounce) bags frozen meatballs, thawed
  • 8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, grated (about 2 cups), divided
  • 4 ounces fontina cheese, grated (about 1 cup), divided


Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat to 400°F. Lightly coat a 3-quart casserole dish or a 9x13-inch baking dish with olive oil; set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook pasta for 8 minutes, or 2 minutes less than suggested on package instructions, until it's quite al dente, as it will keep cooking when baked. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, large enough to fit the cooked pasta, over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and their juices and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Add the spinach and cook until just wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the meatballs and cooked pasta.

Pour half of the pasta mixture in the prepared baking dish. Sprinkle with half of each mozzarella and fontina. Then pour the remaining pasta mixture in the pan and sprinkle with the remaining cheeses. Bake until the top is lightly golden and the cheese is bubbling, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving.

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