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Baked penne with meatballs.

No-Boil Baked Penne with Meatballs

  • Author: Lindsay
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


Baked Penne with Meatballs! No-boil, fail-proof, garlic-buttery, easy dreamy weeknight dinner. SO GOOD! 



Baked Penne:

  • 8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta (half of the box)
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1/2 cup Land O Lakes® Butter, melted
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 12 teaspoons salt (I use 2 teaspoons of coarse kosher salt)
  • meatballs, cooked shredded chicken, or other protein of choice

At the end:

  • a few handfuls of spinach
  • grated Parmesan cheese for topping


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the baked penne ingredients together in a 9×13 baking dish. Cover tightly with foil (double layer isn’t a bad idea).
  3. Bake for 35-40 minutes.
  4. Remove foil (HOT HOT HOT) and give it a stir. Add spinach and top with Parm, and brown it up for 3-5 minutes under the broiler. Let it stand for a few minutes so the sauce has a chance to thicken up. Voila!


Protein: This is delicious with meatballs (I used these chicken meatballs), and also delicious with a pound of cooked shredded chicken. If you do not include any protein, you will probably have a bit more sauce than what you need. As written, the base gives you enough sauce to coat the noodles AND the additional protein.

Veggies: Seems like kale would also do really well in this recipe. 

Garlic Thoughts: I find that garlic powder and onion powder gives a distinct flavor that doesn’t replace fresh garlic but fills out the recipe really nicely. It gives some of the same savory flavor as what you might get if you added a packet of dry ranch or Italian seasoning or something… without using a packet of dry ranch or Italian seasoning.

Al Dente Seekers: 30 – 35 minutes = slightly al dente pasta. 40 minutes = softer noodles. Keep in mind that the noodles soften as they cool / move into the leftovers stage.

  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: baked penne, penne with meatballs, no boil penne