Baked Rigatoni Pasta with Spinach and Meatballs is a classic recipe that you will want to make again and again. It is the perfect meal for weeknight dinner, holiday gatherings and more. The recipe is made with rigatoni pasta, mini meatballs, spinach, creamy tomato sauce and mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Layer baked meatballs, spinach and sauce over a bed of pasta. Top with cheese and bake in the oven for less than 20 minutes. If desired, prepare the recipe in advance, refrigerate and then bake later. Or, bake and reheat throughout the week.
On busy weeknights, the often-dreaded question becomes: “What’s for dinner tonight?” It’s easy to opt for takeout or run through a drive-through, but home-cooked meals, especially those prepared from scratch like this Baked Rigatoni Pasta with Spinach and Meatballs, have health benefits you may not be aware of — like helping with weight control, cutting down on trans fat and salts. Homemade dinners also help families come together for a meal and are budget-friendly! To help save on time, prep this easy dinner ahead and have it on the table in no time!
Baked Rigatoni Pasta with Spinach and Meatballs
- 10 minutes
- 40 minutes
- 50 minutes
- 8 servings
For the meatballs:
- 3/4 pound lean ground beef
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 3 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for garnish
- Pinch of kosher salt
- Pinch of fresh black pepper
For the pasta:
- 16 oz. rigatoni pasta
- 1 heaping cup spinach, chopped
- 1 (25 oz.) jar marinara sauce
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
- To prepare the meatballs, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking sheet with cooking spray or oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. Mix with a fork until combined. Using a spoon or scoop, roll meat into small 1-inch balls. Repeat with remaining meat and arrange on baking sheet.
- Bake for 13 to 15 minutes, or until meatballs are almost cooked through.
- When the meatballs are cooking, prepare the pasta according to the package instructions.
- After the meatballs and pasta are done cooking, layer the pasta and meatballs in a large rectangular baking dish (about 9 inches x 13 inches). Sprinkle with chopped spinach.
- In a medium bowl, stir together marinara sauce and heavy cream. Pour sauce over pasta with spinach and meatballs. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and extra Parmesan cheese, as desired. Bake in the oven until bubbly and heated through, about 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with basil, as desired. Serve immediately.