Cheesy Penne Pasta (with Meatballs!)

Baked Penne Casserole comes together in mere minutes for a quick family meal. Meatballs are combined with penne noodles, pasta sauce and cheese for the perfect weeknight casserole recipe!

Serve this with a side salad and some crusty bread.

A servings of cheesy baked penne with meatballs in a white bowl.

Penne is the perfect shaped pasta for this saucy bake! Round, tubular shapes that hold the sauce and the cheese inside as well as on the outside.

How to Make a Penne Pasta Bake

  1. Bake meatballs in a 9×13 pan according to package instructions (or according to your favorite meatball recipe).
  2. In a pan, saute onion and garlic until fragrant and stir in reamaining sauce ingredients.
  3. Add sauce along with cooked penne to the meatballs (in the same pan… less dishes!) and top with cheese. Bake until heated through.

Garnish with a little parsley and serve with a slice of homemade garlic bread for the perfect meal!

Ingredients for a baked penne topped with parsley in a casserole dish

Variations

PENNE

    • Any medium pasta will work in this recipe. Shells, rotini or even ziti.

MEATBALLS

    • Use store bought or homemade meatballs.
    • Swap out the meatballs for leftover pieces of meatloaf or leftover hamburger patties.
    • Instead of meatballs, create a meat sauce with ground beef or turkey.
    • Swap out beef meatballs for turkey meatballs.

SAUCE

    • Use store bought sauce or homemade marinara.
    • Use leftover spaghetti sauce.
    • Add shredded or chopped veggies to the sauce to stretch the meal (and for added nutrition).

A pan of baked penne with meatballs ready to serve

Got Leftovers?

Cheesy baked penne pasta makes for perfect leftovers! Simply store leftovers in a container that can be sealed and place in the fridge. Better yet, store leftovers in small freezer containers or plastic bags and grab-and-go for a quick lunch at the desk or a quick bite after school!

To reheat, just put in the microwave. Give it a stir and refresh the flavors with sprinkle of cheese!

 

More Baked Pasta Faves

Cheesy Baked Penne

Penne pasta and meatballs in a tomato sauce, topped with mozza cheese and baked until bubbly!

  • 12 oz penne pasta* (cooked al dente)
  • 1 lb prepared meatballs (or recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 24 oz marinara sauce (or pasta sauce)
  • 14 oz diced fire roasted tomatoes (with juice)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Place meatballs in a 9×13 pan and bake 20 minutes (or according to recipe or package directions).
  3. Meanwhile, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes or until softened.

  4. Remove the meatballs from the oven. Drain fat if there is a lot in the bottom, if there is a little bit you can leave it for flavor.

  5. Add cooked penne, and remaining ingredients to the 9×13 pan with the meatballs. Stir to combine.

  6. Top with cheese and bake an additional 20 minutes or until heated through. Garnish with parsley if desired.

To Make Homemade Meatballs combine the ingredients below. Roll into 24 meatballs and bake at 375°F for 20 to 22 minutes or until cooked through. 

1 lb ground beef
1/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons parsley

A scoop being taken out of a cheesy baked penne casserole.
A servings of cheesy baked penne with meatballs in a white bowl.
Top photo - A scoop being taken out of a cheesy baked penne casserole. Bottom photo - cheesy baked penne ingredients in a white casserole dish.