Baked Penne with Meatballs! No-boil, fail-proof, garlic-buttery, easy dreamy weeknight dinner. SO GOOD!
- 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
- 1–2 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
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- 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).
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- 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.
- Category: Dinner
- Method: Bake
- Cuisine: Italian