Baked Cellentani and Meatballs is a perfect alternative for Baked lasagna, made with those wonderful Cellentani – corkscrew pasta noodles, homemade simple Italian meatballs, red sauce, ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, fresh herbs, and a little love.If you love lasagna you are going to love the simplicity of Baked Cellentani and Meatballs.
The one thing about these delightful corkscrew pasta, is its perfect for hearty pasta casseroles, capturing every drop of your favorite homemade or jarred sauces. The twists and spirals of Cellentani pasta allow it to embrace both refined and even simple sauces you may use in your Italian recipes.
I tend to make batches of my meatballs and sauce and freeze them for later use in my recipes, however, if you are short on time and can not make it ahead you can ad-lib with your favorite jar sauce and frozen meatballs in the last resort.
Baked Cellentani and Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon of authentic olive oil
- kosher salt for pasta water
- 1- 16- ounce package of Barilla Cellentani Pasta
- 1 recipe for Simple Italian Meatballs and Red Sauce
- 15 ounces of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
- 12 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced and halved
- 1/2 cup Grated Romano Cheese
- 1 whole egg
- kosher salt, to own taste
- fresh ground pepper, to own taste
- fresh minced Parsley
- fresh chopped basil
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a separate glass bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Romano cheese, whole egg, and kosher salt and the fresh pepper. Stir to combine ingredients.
- Drain the Barilla Cellentani pasta and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking
- Pour the Cellentani pasta into the bowl with the ricotta and Ramano cheese mixture, toss the pasta to combine.
- Add 1/3 of the sauce from Simple Italian Meatballs and Red Sauce recipe and combine.
- Add half the coated pasta to an extra-large casserole dish or large lasagna dish. Place 1/2 of homemade meatballs on the layer. Spoon another 1/3 of the red sauce over the top, then top with half the sliced fresh mozzarella cheese.
- Repeat with another layer of the coated pasta, and the rest of the red sauce,
- Strategically place the other half of the homemade Italian meatballs on the top of casserole and the rest of the fresh mozzarella.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until bubbling. Remove from oven and let stand 5 minutes before serving.
- Garnish with fresh minced parsley and fresh chopped basil before serving.
© Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner are strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Heidy L. McCallum and The McCallum’s Shamrock Patch with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.