Baked Pasta Recipe

Baked pasta is pasta that has been baked in an oven. Italian dishes commonly prepared in this way include pizza, breads and pasta dishes.Pasta is usually boiled before it is baked in al forno dishes. This double cooking means that it is served soft, not with the firm al dente consistency that Italians customarily prefer in pasta dishes.

baked-pasta with meatballs and mozzarella cheese

The dish can be assembled ready for baking a good few hours ahead – and it’s all cooked in one pan. A super-simple baked pasta that uses tomato sauce, meatballs and two cheeses – Parmesan and mini mozzarella cheese. This sort of family meal is well worth making in bulk so you can eat one now and freeze the rest for later. 

Oven Baked pasta
Serves 8
Baked Pasta is a classic Italian dish served on Sundays in Italy. What makes this recipe so tasty is the tomato sauce, the fried meatballs. All topped with the obligatory layer of melted cheese. This recipe's a hit with kids too.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
2 hr 15 min
  1. tomato sauce 700 gr
  2. fried meatballs 8
  3. penne pasta 500 g
  4. cubed mozzarella cheese or mini mozzarella balls 500 g
  5. grated Parmesan cheese
  6. 1 tbsp olive oil
  1. First buy the ingredients that you need for a baked pasta.
  2. Prepare the tomato sauce in advance to save time. The preparation for a good tomato sauce is usually 1 hour. For the technique you can check my previous recipe here.
  3. Set the tomato sauce aside.
  4. Tip: You can buy the meatballs in your local shop or prepare your meatballs. For the method of homemade meatballs, you can have a look at my previous post here.
  5. You will need at least 8 medium meatballs. If you prepare mini meatballs, you can duplicate the quantity.
  6. For the preparation of the fried meat balls, heat the oil in a large pan and and add the meatballs to the pan. Fry them until brown and crispy.
  7. Dry the meatballs over a kitchen paper and set them aside.
  8. Cook the pasta following pack instructions. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6.
  9. Tip: cook the pasta al dente. The pasta must be just done (not overdone).
  10. Dry the pasta well and put the pasta into a bowl with 1 tbs of oil. In this way, the pasta will not stick.
  11. Pour the fried meatballs into the bowl with the tomato sauce and mix it well.
  12. Add the mini mozzarella balls to a bowl and set aside. You can buy or the classic mozzarella or mini mozzarella balls.
  13. Now you have all the ingredients ready for the preparation of this recipe.
  14. Mix together the mozzarella, most of the Parmesan in a large bowl. Tip: Into a large baking dish, mix the pasta with the tomato sauce, the mozzarella balls and the fried meatballs, and scatter over the remaining Parmesan. Bake for 40 mins until golden and bubbling. Serve hot with garlic bread, if you like.
  1. A fresh tomato basil sauce is important for a tasty baked pasta. It's the quintessential Mediterranean, simple and tasty, even more so if done in the period of July-August, when the tomatoes are tasty and fragrant. To prepare the fresh tomato sauce you can buy a bunch of red tomatoes, or the San Marzano plum.
  2. Some shops sells ready meatballs, why don't try the meatballs in Lidl.
  3. Cooking pasta al dente means when the pasta is cooked so that it is neither soggy (overcooked, disintegrating, collapsing. It should be cooked all the way through, but no more.
  4. To be cooked "al dente" there should still be some resistance to the bite of the teeth, but no feeling that there is an uncooked part.
  5. If you buy the classic mozzarella, you will need 4 mozzarella (125g each). If you prefer the mini mozzarella balls (250g each), you will need 2.
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tomato sauce for baked pasta
tomato sauce for baked pasta
al dente penne for baked pasta
250 gr firm al dente penne
fried meatballs in a tomato sauce for baked pasta
add the fried meatballs to the tomato sauce
pasta with tomato sauce mozzarella and meatballs
Baking: pour the penne into the baking tin, add the mozzarella balls, tomato sauce with fried meat balls and mix well. Cover with the Parmesan cheese.
Baked pasta
After 40 mins in the oven, the oven pasta is ready
Baked pasta
The oven pasta is ready when it is crispy and the cheese is melted.


baked pasta with meatballs and mini mozzarella balls served warm
Serve the baked pasta





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