Though I've been making lasagna for years without first boiling the noodles, I never thought to try this technique with other pasta dishes.
Meatballs and spaghetti are a staple in my house, so I wondered if I could streamline things by baking both components up in one pan. Though boiling water is not a chore, it does add considerable time to the cooking process, making it a challenge on busier weeknights.
Turns out, this technique works perfectly!
I started with my favorite homemade meatballs but you can easily swap them for pre-cooked frozen meatballs (just make sure they're fully thawed before you start).
You'll need three cups of your favorite marinara sauce, plus three additional cups of liquid. You can use water, or a combination of water and heavy cream. Add some shredded cheese and a sprinkling of chopped herbs at the end and dinner is served!
No-Boil Pasta Meatball Bake
4 - 6 servings
12 - 16 ounces uncooked pasta (gluten-free or regular)
24 ounces marinara sauce
1 cup heavy cream
1 package cooked meatballs, thaw if frozen (or make your own)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
roughly chopped fresh herbs, such as basil, for garnish
1. Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Combine the pasta, marinara, heavy cream, 2 cups water and meatballs in a large ovenproof skillet or 9"x13" pan. (Note: You may eliminate the cream if preferred; increase the water to 3 cups.)
3. Cover tightly with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Turn oven to broil, remove foil and top with mozzarella. Cook till cheese is melted and browned.