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This meatball pasta bake is made with homemade Italian meatballs that use hot Italian sausage, ground beef, and ground veal with delicious aromatics. This meatball recipe sears them to golden brown perfection, then mixed with pasta, and baked with melty burrata cheese. The perfect family meal.
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When it comes to making meatballs, the meat is the most important part. I use a combination of hot Italian sausage (for the spice), ground beef, and ground veal. I know some people do not like veal, so you can just do half and half beef and pork. Then I add onion, garlic, parsley, freshly grated parmesan, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes.
A little trick I use to help the meat not stuck to my hands when forming the meatballs, is add a little olive oil to your palms. For this recipe, I made the meatballs 1 inch so they didn’t over power the pasta. In my original meatball recipe, I made the meatballs larger to use in meatball subs, appetizers, or as the main dish itself.
Cooking the meatballs
Next comes cooking the meatballs. In a dutch oven, I added oil and seared the meatballs on each side. Since they are small, I seared each side for about 30-45 seconds, you’re looking for that golden brown color on each side.
As the meatballs are finished searing, I set them aside on a rack while I finished searing the other meatballs. Since they are small, they should be pretty much cooked through, but they will finish baking in the oven with the pasta.
You can use any type of pasta, but I loved using rigatoni because its shape pairs well with the meatballs. I cooked the pasta al dente, drained, and returned to the pot. I added the meatballs to the pasta, and poured arrabbiata red sauce over the top, and mixed it all together.
Grease a baking dish and add the meatball, red sauce, pasta. I took two bulbs of burrata cheese, tore them apart and stuffed it within the pasta. If you haven’t had burrata cheese before, it’s basically a creamier mozzarella and SO delicious!
Meatball Pasta Bake
I baked on 375 degrees F, for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly.
Top with fresh basil and you can add some crushed red pepper flakes for more of a kick!
This meatball pasta bake recipe is the perfect cozy meal to feed the whole family. The best part? The leftovers are equally delicious (that is if you even have any left!)
Love Italian? Check out these recipes!
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- Penne Alla Vodka
- Spinach and Beef Lasagna
- Baked Chicken Parmesan
- Bolognese Sauce
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- 1/2 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound hot Italian sausage
- 1/2 pound ground veal (or lamb, or can omit veal, just make sure all meat=1.5lbs together)
- 1/3 cup yellow onion (chopped)
- 1/4 cup garlic (minced)
- 2 large eggs (lightly beaten)
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1/4-1/3 cup Italian bread crumbs (start with 1/4, adjust if need more binding)
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup olive oil (for pan searing)
- 1 pound rigatoni (cooked al dente according to package instructions)
- 24 ounces arrabbiata sauce (or red sauce of choice)
- 8 ounces burrata cheese
- Fresh basil (chopped to garnish)
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- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and set a pot of salted pasta water boiling, once boiling cook pasta to al dente according to package instructions.
- In a medium bowl, add in all of the meatball ingredients (minus the olive oil) and using your hands, mix until all the ingredients are evenly mixed. Roll into 1 inch meatballs and set aside until all are formed.
- In a dutch oven over medium/high heat, add in the oil. Once shimmering, sear each meatball for 30-45 seconds until each side is golden brown. Remove from oil, set aside to drain and sear all remaining meatballs.
- Drain the al dente pasta and return back to the pasta pot. Add in the meatballs to the pasta, the jar of red sauce, and mix till all combined. Pour into a greased 9×13 baking sheet. Tear up the burrata into small dollops and stuff into the pasta and meatballs.
- Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes until the cheese is melty and bubbly. Top with freshly chopped basil and serve.
- To keep meatballs from sticking to your hands when forming, add a little olive oil to your hands.