Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole is the comfort food of any pasta and cheese lovers’ dreams, made with our favorite quality pasta, and the family’s favorite hearty, thick, chunky homemade pasta sauce, delicious meatballs, and the cheesiest cheeses around. It just screams Delicious. This Baked Rotini and Meatballs turns any traditional pasta and meatballs into the most amazing baked cheesy casserole you will ever taste.
Be ready to have plenty of the Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole on hand to serve, because believe you me when I tell you that everyone always heads back to the Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole dish for seconds and yes sometimes thirds at our family dinner table.
There’s just something about the combination of thick, rich, chunky, pasta sauce. With these large meatballs, and gooey cheese that gets people going. At dinner. Looking back at these photos today, I wish I had cleaned up the casserole dish a little for the photos, but sometimes I think seeing real life is good for Y’all readers. Let’s you know I am human too, I am messy, and it’s ok if you’re casserole looks a bit messy also. I mean, after all, we can’t be perfect all the time. Can we?
I love cheese, the more cheese, the better, don’t you think? So to me, the cheese is one of the most critical ingredients in my Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole, followed by a hearty, thick, rich homemade sauce, and the best you ever ate meatballs made from quality ground beef, mild Italian sausage, MORE cheese, and the perfect Italian seasonings then baked to perfection in a hot oven.
The perfect Marinara sauce was one of Frank Sinatra’s culinary passions. Frank published the recipe for his mother’s Natalie Della Garaventa, aka Dolly Sinatra, tomato sauce in a cookbook, and even launched his line of jar sauce in the late 1980s.
Frank’s delicious recipe called for ripe red Roma tomatoes, olive oil, not too much onion, and a fair amount of Italian Gold, aka garlic. This is precisely why I used this recipe for Marinara sauce as the foundation for my sauce with a few adaptions to the sauce recipe for my Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole.
If you like, you can omit the homemade pasta sauce and use your favorite jar sauce and make this a little faster there’s no crime in that if you need to save some time, it won’t taste the same, but I’m almost sure it will still be pretty darn tasty I bet. One thing I would not change is the meatballs to a frozen brand, though, due to the recipe will be off, and I can’t make you any promises once you change the method to that extent.
Before we get started, this Baked Rotini and Meatballs is one of my longer recipes on the blog with several ingredients. However, I have some time-saving ideas if you would like to make this on a busy day or not invest as much time making dinner.
If you have homemade sauce in your freezer already, you can use it in the recipe, no problem.
If you do not have a batch of homemade sauce and are short of time, a quality jar sauce can be used and doctored up a bit.
If you do not have time to dice up the veggies, feel free to look in the produce section for pre-chopped vegetables, and that will save a fair amount of time.
No time to make meatballs? No worries, pick up a frozen batch to use in the recipe.
Short of time or don’t feel like freshly grating cheeses? No biggie look for a quality four-cheese Italian blend that is pre-shredded.
Ingredients needed for Baked Rotini and Meatballs
- 1/4 of a cup of olive oil
- One large carrot finely diced
- One stalk of celery finely diced
- One medium onion finely diced
- One medium green pepper finely diced
- Eight-ounces sliced Portobello mushrooms
- Four cloves of garlic minced
- One-28-ounce can organic Italian-style tomatoes
- One-28-ounce can of organic tomato purée
- Two tablespoons of fresh parsley chopped
- Two teaspoons of dried thyme
- Two tablespoons of fresh basil, chopped
- kosher salt, to own taste
- black pepper, to own taste
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 3/4 of a pound of lean ground beef
- 1/2 of a pound mild Italian sausage
- One cup of seasoned Italian breadcrumbs
- 1/2 of a cup Parmesan and Romano cheese blend
- Two tablespoons of finely chopped fresh parsley
- One clove of garlic minced
- One teaspoon of dried basil
- Two eggs
- kosher salt, to own taste
- freshly ground pepper, to own taste
- Extra-virgin olive oil
Additional Ingredients Needed
- 1/2 of a cup of shredded Mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 of a cup of shredded Asiago cheese
- 1/2 of a cup of shredded provolone cheese
- 1/4 of a cup grated Ramano cheese
- 1/4 of a cup of Parmesan cheese
- One pound of Rotini Pasta Noodles cooked al dente
- Chopped fresh parsley to serve
- Pepper flakes optional
- cooking spray
Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole
- ¼ cup Extra- virgin olive oil
- 1 small Carrot finely diced
- 1 stalk Celery finely diced
- 1 small Onion finely diced
- ½ Green pepper finely diced
- 8- ounces Portobello mushrooms sliced
- 4 cloves Garlic minced
- 1-28- ounce can Organic Italian-style tomatoes
- 1-28- ounce can Organic tomato purée
- 2 tablespoons Fresh parsley chopped
- 2 teaspoons Dried thyme
- Kosher salt to own taste
- Black pepper to own taste
- pinch Red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons Fresh basil chopped
- ¾ pound Lean ground beef
- ½ pound Mild Italian sausage
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- ½ cup Parmesan and Romano cheese blend
- 2 tablespoons Finely chopped fresh parsley
- 1 clove Garlic minced
- 1 teaspoon Dried basil
- 2 Eggs
- Kosher salt to own taste
- Freshly ground pepper to own taste
- Virgin olive oil
- ½ cup Shredded Mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup Shredded Asiago cheese
- ½ cup Shredded provolone cheese
- ¼ cup Grated Ramano cheese
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 pound Rotini Pasta Noodles cooked al dente
- Chopped fresh Parsley to serve
- Pepper flakes, optional
- Cooking spray
Instructions for sauce
- In a metal frying pan, add the olive oil, the carrot, celery, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and the four cloves garlic: stir often over medium heat until the veggies are tender and the onion is golden.
- Drain the organic Italian-style canned tomatoes, saving 1/4 of a cup of the liquid. Place the liquid from the canned organic Italian-style and organic tomato purée in the blender for about 6 seconds.
- Add the drained tomatoes and blended tomato purée in the saucepot; cook for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat.
- Season the tomato sauce with fresh parsley, dried thyme, fresh basil, oregano, kosher salt, and black pepper stir the sauce well; simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring sauce a few times before adding the fried meatballs and cooking 20 -30 minutes on low heat.
Instructions for meatballs
- Combine, ground beef, ground mild Italian sausage, Italian bread crumbs, parmesan Romanomano Italian cheese blend, chopped parsley, minced garlic, basil, eggs, kosher salt, and freshly ground pepper.
- Form meat mixture into balls about the size of a golf ball.
- Brown the meatballs in the olive oil and reserve them until the pasta sauce has cooked about 20 minutes before adding them to the pasta sauce, cook in sauce about 20 minutes.
- Remove the meatballs from the sauce and let cool before slicing in half.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F
- In a medium bowl combine shredded mozzarella cheese, shredded asiago, and shredded provolone cheese. Reserve the cheese until needed.
- In an extra-large bowl combine 1 pound of al dente Rotini, 1/4 of a cup of grated Ramano cheese, 1/4 of a cup parmesan cheese, and your desired amount of pasta sauce from above recipe or favorite jar sauce, don’t forget some of the sauce cooks into the pasta so don’t be afraid to add a little extra sauce.
- Add a layer of the pasta mixture to a 10 x 13 prepared baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Place a layer of meatballs that have been sliced in half on top of the pasta, then a light layer of the cheese mixture.
- Next, add the last layer by adding a layer of the pasta mixture, place a top layer of meatballs that have been sliced in half on top of the pasta, then a light layer of the pasta sauce, and the rest of the cheese mixture.
- Lightly cover the Baked Rotini and Meatballs Casserole with foil and place in a 350 degree F oven for about 30 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
- Place in your favorite pasta bowls and add a few red pepper flakes and chopped parsley to the bowls if desired.
- Be sure to refrigerate or freeze any of the remaining pasta sauce for a later date.
Time saver tip:
- You may use your favorite jarred sauce or own pre-made homemade sauce if desired.
- Frozen pre-made meatballs can be substituted if desired. As always anytime substitutions are used taste may vary.
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