Cheesy Meatball Baked Pasta

Fusilli pasta baked with tomato sauce, meatballs and a trio of cheeses: mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr 25 min
  • Active: 15 min
  • Yield: 6
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Ingredients

Meatballs:

Olive oil, for the baking dish

1/4 cup dried breadcrumbs

3 tablespoons milk

1/2 pound ground beef (80-percent lean)

1/2 pound ground pork

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

1 teaspoon dried oregano

2 cloves garlic, finely grated

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Pasta:

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

One 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 pound dried fusilli

3 cups shredded mozzarella

1 cup grated Parmesan

1 cup fresh ricotta

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to broil on high. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with foil and coat lightly with oil.
  2. Put the breadcrumbs in a large mixing bowl and pour the milk over the top. Stir to combine and let stand 5 minutes. Add the beef, pork, Parmesan, oregano, garlic, 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and mix to combine with your hands. Add the egg and mix well to incorporate. Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls, arranging them in the prepared baking dish.
  3. Broil the meatballs about 3 inches from the element until browned on top, about 4 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and continue to broil until golden brown and cooked through, about 4 minutes more.

For the pasta: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the garlic is golden, about 2 minutes. Add both cans of tomatoes and 1 cup of water. Increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat slightly and simmer rapidly, uncovered, until thickened, 15 to 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the fusilli in the salted boiling water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than the package directions. Drain the pasta and transfer to a large bowl.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, meatballs and half of the mozzarella and Parmesan to the bowl and stir well to combine. Transfer the pasta to a 3- to 4-quart baking dish. Dollop the ricotta by spoonfuls onto the pasta. Top with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan. Bake, uncovered, until browned, about 15 minutes. Let the pasta stand about 10 minutes before serving.