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Baked Rigatoni and Meatballs – Recipe ๐Ÿ

This recipe is similar to baked ziti but uses meatballs and rigatoni!

As cooler weather approaches, I start craving meatballs and baked pasta. This recipe reminds me a bit of baked ziti! You will have a lot of leftover meatballs from this recipe; perfect for leftovers, soups, spaghetti and meatball sandwiches!ย 

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 lb ground veal
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs + more for consistency
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • Olive oil as needed

For the rigatoni:

  • 1 box of dry rigatoniย 
  • 1 – 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • Handful of fresh basil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 large scoop of ricotta cheese
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano as needed
  • Fresh mozzarella as needed
  • Olive oil as needed
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Process:

  1. Start by making meatballs. In a bowl, combine pork, veal, beef, egg yolks, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and garlic. Mix around with your hands until well combined and slightly sticky. You may need to add more breadcrumbs for the right consistency. Roll meat into balls about 1 inch around.
  2. Fry meatballs in a pan with olive oil until browned on each side. It’s okay if they are still pink in the center. Drain oil. Set aside.ย 
  3. Par-cook (partially cook) the rigatoni in a pot of salted, boiling water. Note: This will make sure the pasta isn’t overcooked after you bake it. Boil the rigatoni for 2-3 minutes less than the box says for al dente. Drain, reserving a cup of the pasta water for later and set pasta aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  5. Make a tomato sauce in the same pan you cooked the meatballs in by simply pouring the can of crushed tomatoes + 1 can full of water, garlic, basil and salt and pepper to taste in a pan and bring to a simmer. Add meatballs to the sauce and cook down several hours or for a faster version, simmer 1 hour.
  6. Combine rigatoni, tomato sauce and meatballs in a deep baking dish (like a 13×9 Pyrex). Note: You will have leftover meatballs, freeze them or store in the fridge for meatball sandwiches. Top with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and fresh mozzarella.ย 
  7. Bake 20 minutes or until mozzarella is bubbling and melted. Serve with bread and wine!

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