Very good. Omitted all of the fennel as my family does not like that. Makes a gracious plenty! My family of 4 (2 teenage young men) did not put a dent in the casserole!
Meatball Pasta Bake
Orange juice and fennel give this quick supper bright, fresh flavor. Chop fennel as you would an onion, or omit it, if desired.
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Total: 1 Hour, 10 Minutes
- 1 (16-oz.) package penne pasta
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 1 medium-size fennel bulb, thinly sliced (optional)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 (24-oz.) jars marinara sauce
- 2 (14-oz.) packages frozen beef meatballs, thawed
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- 3/4 cup organic chicken broth
- 1 teaspoon firmly packed orange zest
- 1 medium-size red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup torn fresh basil
- 1 1/2 (8-oz.) packages fresh mozzarella cheese slices
- Garnish: fresh basil leaves
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare pasta according to package directions.
- 2. Sauté onion and fennel bulb in hot oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes or until tender. Add garlic and fennel seeds, and sauté 1 minute. Stir in marinara sauce and next 6 ingredients; increase heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in basil, cooked pasta, and salt to taste. Transfer to a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Place dish on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Top with cheese.
- 3. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until bubbly.
- Note: We tested with Classico Marinara with Plum Tomatoes.
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