Mozzarella Meatball Pasta
If you love meatballs and adore lasagne, you'll enjoy making this easy, healthier pasta bake. So much simpler than layering up a lasagne, you cook meatballs in a rich tomato sauce and tumble into an ovenproof dish with blanched lasagne sheets, then bake for just 10 minutes. Instead of a cheese sauce, I've used grated mozzarella here as it's so quick and 'oozy' (sorry about the pun!).
- 24 small lean beef meatballs (about 400g)
- 6 sheets no-precook dried lasagne (about 100g)
- 50-125 g ready grated mozzarella or Cheddar and mozzarella mixed (use less for a lower calorie meal)
For the sauce
- oil, for spraying or brushing
- 1 medium onion, coarsely grated
- 2 x 400 g cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 350 ml beef stock (made with 1 beef stock cube)
- 100 ml red wine or extra stock
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- flaked sea salt
- ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 200℃/Fan 180℃/Gas 6. To make the sauce, spray or brush a wide-based saucepan or sauté pan with oil and fry the onion gently for 5 minutes or until softened, stirring regularly.
- Add the tomatoes to the pan and stir int he tomato puree, stock, wine, if using, and oregano. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- While the sauce is simmering, brush a large baking tray lightly with oil and arrange the meatballs. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly browned on all sides.
- Add the meatballs to the pan with the tomatoes and cook for 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is rich and thick.
- Meanwhile, half fill a large saucepan with water and bring to the boil. Add the lasagne sheets one at a time and return to the boil. Cook for 7 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally to stop the lasagne from sticking together. Drain in a colander.
- Take the meatballs and sauce off the heat. Add the lasagne and mix lightly. Tumble the lasagne and meatball sauce into a large, warmed lasagne dish. Pull up a few of the lasagne sheets with a fork. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sauce begins to bubble.
Freeze the cooled unbaked lasagne covered tightly with foil for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge and reheat as the recipe for about 30 minutes, removing the foil for the last 10 minutes of cooking time until piping hot throughout.