Ziti with meatballs

(Karoline Boehm Goodnick for The Boston Globe)
By Julie Riven
Globe Correspondent / October 5, 2011

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Kids love meatballs. After your little helpers assist you with this recipe, they will be happy to dig in.

Serves 4

1 egg
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup ketchup
1 small onion, grated
1/2 cup panko
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 jar (16 ounces) marinara sauce
1 pound ziti
1 cup grated Parmesan

1. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Have on hand a 9-by-12-inch baking dish or a rimmed baking sheet.

2. In a large bowl with a fork, lightly beat the egg. Stir in the garlic, ketchup, onion, bread crumbs, beef, salt, and pepper. Mix well.

3. Fill a bowl with cold water. Using a large soup spoon, scoop out golf-ball-size portions of meat. Dip your hands in water and form 1 1/2-inch balls. Transfer meatballs to the baking dish. Continue until all the meatballs are formed.

4. Pour the marinara over the meatballs and turn them so they are coated all over. Cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes. Turn them and continue baking, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

5. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the ziti for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until they are tender. Dip a heatproof measuring cup into the water and remove 1/2 cup.

6. Drain the ziti into a colander. Divide the pasta among 4 shallow bowls. If the marinara sauce is too thick, stir in a few spoonfuls of the pasta water. Ladle meatballs and sauce over ziti. Sprinkle with Parmesan.

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