Here we go again. Another quick, easy and delicious creation using up random ingredients from the refrigerator. I love making a meal out of leftover ingredients, do you?. This time, I had a few meatballs, some sauces and some cheese so it made perfect sense to throw it all together in a casserole. Out came this easy baked Pasta with Chicken Meatballs, Marinara, Pesto & Mozzarella cheese. I know that’s a long title, but I had no clue what to name this dish.
I had a little bit of my basic marinara sauce leftover in the fridge, not really enough to do anything special with. Of course, it would have been simple enough to toss with some spaghetti and parmesan and call it a day. But I felt like being a bit more creative and wanted something different. Something with melty, gooey, cheese!
So I did a quick check through my bare refrigerator (I really, really need to go to the grocery store) to see what else I could find. I had exactly 6 chicken meatballs from a package I got at Costco, as well as half a jar of Pesto sauce (from Costo too, it’s really good if you don’t happen have any homemade), some pre-shredded mozzarella cheese and a chunk of parmesan cheese. In my pantry, I had an opened box of rigatoni with about a cup of dry noodles left in it. Sounded like enough ingredients to throw together a tasty little casserole.
While the rigatoni cooked, I browned the pre-cooked meatballs in a skillet. When the pasta was done, I drained it, put it back in the pot, added the meatballs, mixed it with the sauce, dumped it all in a small casserole dish and topped it with cheese. 20 minutes in the oven and dinner was served!
How’s that for a quick and easy dinner? Now I REALLY have to hit the grocery store (I don’t even have any eggs)!
- 6 meatballs (I used chicken, any kind will do, Could even use Italian sausage)
- ¾ C. marinara sauce (homemade or from a jar)
- ¼ C. Pesto (homemade or from a jar)
- 1¼ C. dry, rigatoni pasta (or you could use penne or ziti)
- 1 C. shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ C. parmesan cheese
- Garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Cook pasta according to package directions, drain and return to pot.
- While pasta is cooking, brown meatballs in skillet (I used precooked meatballs from Costco). I cut them in half so they're not too big.
- To the pasta, add meatballs, marinara and pesto. Stir to combine.
- Pour into small casserole dish. Top with cheeses and bake for 20 minutes, until hot and cheese is melted.
- Garnish with chopped fresh basil, if desired (I used a little rosemary for the picture because I didn't have basil)