Sunday, January 17, 2016

NEW RECIPE: Turkey Meatball Pasta Bake

As a college student, it's important for me to be able to cook cheap but nutritious meals to keep myself going. I also try to put spins on them and make them delicious while keeping myself within a budget. 

With cheaper ingredients like healthy, natural pre-made sauces and cheap wines, I can cheat a little bit while still delivering on flavor and nutrition that I need. A pasta bake is the perfect example of that. While the white sauce on top I used was store-bought, I was still able to deliver a good meal packed full of flavor and the nutrients I need. 

This pasta bake uses a healthier ground turkey meatball, which is incredibly easy to make from scratch and cheaper than ground beef. With a homemade tomato sauce and cooked pasta, this contains a lot of veg, meat, and carbs that a college student needs to function! 

Recipe serves 12 people.

For the Meatballs:

1 pound ground turkey
1/2 tablespoon salt
1/2 tablespoon black pepper
2 cloves minced garlic
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon onion powder

For the Pasta Bake:

1 package pasta (400-500 grams or 1 pound), any style
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 glass red wine
2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 cups crushed tomatoes
1 cup water
1 cup alfredo or cream-based sauce OR 1/2 cup Parmesean Cheese and 1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese


1. Combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and form into 1-2 oz sized meatballs. Start the pasta in a pot of salted boiling water at this point, cooking based on package instructions.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pot on medium high heat. Sear the meatballs for a minute on each side, then remove from the pan.

3. Sweat off the onions and garlic in the same pot, along with salt and pepper to taste, basil, and oregano. Cook for about 2-3 minutes until the onions turn translucent.

4. Make a hole in the center of the pan and place the tomato paste in this area. Cook for 30 seconds, then stir into the onions.

5. Deglaze the pot with the white wine and add in the crushed tomatoes and water. Bring up to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

6. Drain your pasta and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Transfer the meatballs back into the pasta sauce, and remove from the heat and stir in the pasta.

7. Transfer the contents of your pot to a large baking dish, and top with the cream sauce or cheese. Ensure that the meatballs are well-distributed before adding the cream sauce/cheese.

8. Bake for 35-40 minutes, then serve!

This is definitely a hearty dish, but it packs everything you need for a complete meal into a simple easy bake! It's got richness from the cream sauce or cheese on top, savory flavors from the meatballs, and acidic but perfectly healthy tomato sauce packed with onion to boost the flavor of the pasta, which makes a great carb base! This is a great meal to cook in college- and even beyond that!

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! Let me know what you think and what you would change. If you make it at home, let me know how it turns out! Enjoy! =) 

No comments:

Post a Comment