Sometimes, you just want easy. You either aren’t up to or don’t have time for pasta sauce made with organic home grown tomatoes and fresh basil. You don’t want to fuss with rolling tiny meatballs using beef that you raised yourself, slaughtered humanely (not even sure what that MEANS) and added freshly grated Parmesan to…from cheese that you made yourself.
You just want….easy. Quick. Tasty. Get me in the kitchen and out. Maybe even make enough at once that I can freeze some for another time when I’m
feeling extremely lazy too busy to fuss with a huge multi course meal.
So you cheat a little. You buy some good quality jarred sauce for your pasta and doctor it up. You buy meatballs from the frozen aisle at the grocery store. You add in some spices, some delicious Italian sausage, toss it all with your favorite pasta and voila… dinner for tonight and if you make the whole recipe of what I’m about to share, dinner for 2 to 3 more nights in the future, all nicely frozen. Just wrap tightly in foil, label and freeze. Then the next time you don’t feel like cooking because you instead want to veg out in front of netflix and an orgy of Criminal Minds… I mean, next time life gets busy and you are teaching little Suzy to play the Cello while also supervising little Tommy’s soon to be award winning science fair experiment, you’ll have dinner ready to thaw and toss in the oven.
You know the drill…..
Keep in mind that this makes a lot deliberately. if you want just enough for one meal with maybe leftovers for lunch, cut it in half.
Cheesy Meatball And Sausage Pasta Bake
- 2 lbs of your favorite tube type pasta (I used Rigatoni), cooked according to package directions, drained and set aside
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped green pepper
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 2 lb bag frozen Italian style meatballs, thawed
- 1 lb Italian sausage links, cooked, then coarsely chopped or sliced thin
- 2 24 ounce jars of pasta sauce (just use your favorite flavor)
- 1 15 ounce jar Alfredo sauce
- 1/2 cup dry red wine
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 1/4 pounds Mozzarella cheese, grated (please don’t use the pre-grated stuff. it doesn’t melt as well)
- Parmesan cheese for grating on top
- If making full batch, foil pans and foil for long term freezer storage
- Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 13×9 dish (I personally prefer glass because it doesn’t leave any ‘off” tastes in food) with cooking spray.
- Pour the olive oil in a LARGE pot. Add in the chopped onion, green pepper and minced garlic. Saute over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the veggies are limp and tender, but not browned. Dump the meatballs and Italian sausage in and stir for just a minute or two.
- Pour in the pasta sauce, the Alfredo sauce and the red wine. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning and give it all a good stir. Let come to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Now, here’s why I had you use a LARGE pot.
- Dump in the cooked pasta. Use a large wooden spoon to stir it all up and get the pasta all coated with sauce.
- Sprinkle about 3/4 of the Mozzarella cheese into the pasta, about half of that amount at a time. Stir to combine and then after it is well mixed, add the next part.
- Scoop or pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the prepared 13×9 baking dish. Divide the rest between two to three greased square foil pans.
- Sprinkle the one you’re using now with the remainder of the grated Mozzarella cheese as well as some grated Parmesan and bake in a 350 degree oven until browned and bubbly, about 35 to 40 minutes.
- Wrap the foil pans tightly in a double layer of foil, label the contents and freeze. To reheat them, just set the pan in the fridge early on the morning you want to make it, then about an hour before you’re ready to eat, place in a preheated 350 degree oven. Bake for about 35 minutes, still wrapped. Unwrap the dish, sprinkle with Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and continue baking until browned and bubbly.
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