An easy smoky meatball pasta bake recipe using store-bought meatballs in a rich tomato sauce flavoured with smoked paprika!
This is the ultimate in pasta comfort food!
Who doesn't love pasta, bubbling oozy cheese, and rich meaty meatballs? My kids certainly do, and this tasty cheesy meatball pasta bake is always a big hit when I make it for dinner!
I've kept things simple and used good quality store-bought beef meatballs, but feel free to make your own if you have time!
The meatballs are oven roasted which helps them keep their shape when they are mixed into the tomato pasta.
👩🍳 Love pasta bakes? Try my easy pepperoni pizza pasta bake next!
✔️ Why you'll love this recipe!
- Easy pasta bake using store-bought meatballs.
- Cheesy, smoky, and delicious.
- Comfort food in a bowl.
🛒 Ingredient notes
- Meatballs - 24 store-bought beef meatballs, or use your own. You could also use pork or turkey meatballs if you prefer.
- Pasta - any short pasta such as fusilli, penne, or rigatoni.
- Olive Oil - for frying the garlic.
- Garlic - 3 garlic cloves peeled and finely chopped.
- Chorizo - cured chorizo sausage cut into 1cm rounds.
- Passata - or use chopped tomatoes for a chunkier textured sauce.
- Stock - beef stock made from a stock cube or stock pot.
- Tomato Puree - adds richness to the sauce.
- Smoked Paprika - or swap for normal paprika.
- Sugar - to balance the acidity of the tomatoes.
- Salt & Pepper - for seasoning.
- Mozzarella - buffalo mozzarella cut into slices
- Cheddar - grated extra mature cheddar cheese for an extra cheesy flavour.
- Parsley - for garnish.
🍴 Serving suggestions
Serve the smoky meatball pasta bake with homemade pesto foccacia, roasted Tenderstem broccoli, and roasted courgettes.
A crisp green salad on the side is nice too!
- Make it spicy and add 1 chopped red chilli at the same time as the garlic.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Italian dried herbs for extra flavour.
- Make a double batch and freeze half for another day.
- Swap the fusilli for spaghetti and make baked spaghetti and meatballs.
- Cut the calories and use only half the amount of cheese.
- Make it extra cheesy and add grated Parmesan.
Store: make the pasta bake up to the point of baking, then store it in the fridge for up to 2 days (continue the recipe as directed when ready to eat). Leftover baked pasta can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Reheat: place the pasta bake in a microwave-safe bowl and reheat on full power until piping hot.
Freeze: the pasta bake can be frozen for up to 3 months. Allow it to cool thoroughly before placing it in the freezer.
😋 More pasta recipes
- Creamy Bacon Mac and Cheese
- Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni
- Easy Tuna Pasta Bake
- Creamy Sausage Pasta
- Cheesy Pasta Bake
- Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
- Easy Lasagne
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Smoky Meatball Pasta Bake
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- 24 Beef Meatballs
- 250 g Pasta fusilli or rigatoni
- 3 Garlic Cloves peeled and finely chopped
- 100 g Chorizo cut into 1cm rounds
- 200 g Passata
- 200 ml Beef Stock
- 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
- 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- 1 teaspoon Sugar
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- 200 g Buffalo Mozzarella drained and sliced
- 30 g Extra Mature Cheddar grated
- 1 tablespoon Parsley chopped
- Preheat the oven to 200°c (180 fan/ Gas 6). Place the meatballs in a roasting tray and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes.2 tablespoon Olive Oil, 24 Beef Meatballs
- Meanwhile cook the pasta according to packet instructions, drain and set aside.250 g Pasta
- Heat the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan and cook the garlic and chorizo for 2-3 minutes on medium heat.3 Garlic Cloves, 100 g Chorizo
- Stir in the passata, stock, tomato puree, smoked paprika, sugar, salt and pepper, and simmer for 5-6 minutes.200 g Passata, 200 ml Beef Stock, 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree, 1 teaspoon Smoked Paprika, 1 teaspoon Sugar, 1 teaspoon Salt, ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Stir in the cooked pasta and meatballs. Mix carefully to prevent the meatballs from breaking up.
- Pour into a large baking dish and top with the sliced mozzarella and grated cheddar. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until golden and bubbling. Garnish with parsley before serving.200 g Buffalo Mozzarella, 30 g Extra Mature Cheddar, 1 tablespoon Parsley
This looks so good! I am just loving the unexpected addition of paprika in this. 🙂
This is such a comforting meal! Even the leftovers are delicious. Perfect to make ahead for a busy week to make sure the fam is still fed and happy 🙂
This looks like an easy recipe! I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing it.
This smoky meatball pasta bake looks and sounds fabulous. It's a perfect meal on a busy weeknight. Can't wait to give it a try.
This pasta was so rich and satisfying. Everyone loved it and it was so easy to make as well.