Easiest dinner ever. No-boil cheesy baked ziti with bison-pork meatballs.
No-Boil Baked Ziti with Bison-Pork Meatballs
- Servings: 6
- Prep Time: 30 min
- Cooking Time: 1 hr 10 min
- 1 16-ounce store-bought low sugar tomato basil or marinara sauce
- 1 pound ground bison
- ¼ pound ground pork
- ¾ cup plain panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 lb. dried rigatoni pasta
- 1 lb. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 ½-3 cups cold water
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a medium mixing bowl add the ground bison, ground pork, bread crumbs, egg, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Mix well to incorporate.
- Using your hands, form the mixture into balls about 1-inch in diameter. Set aside.
- Using a 9×13-inch baking dish, spread half the uncooked rigatoni in one layer on the bottom of the dish.
- Place half the uncooked meatballs down next. Drizzle the olive oil over the pasta. Spoon about half the tomato sauce evenly over the noodles and meatballs. Next, spread out half of the mozzarella, filling in the gaps between the noodles and meatballs.
- Repeat the layering process with the remaining ingredients, ending with the cheese. If you need to hold this dish and bake it later, cover and refrigerate at this point.
- When ready to bake, add 2 ½ cups of water to the layered ziti dish. Press down lightly with a spatula so the liquid goes everywhere. Add an additional ½ cup of water if needed to mostly cover the pasta. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. This is important as it will help steam/cook the pasta. Place on the center rack of the oven and bake for 1 hour until the rigatoni is tender and cooked through. Remove the foil and cook uncovered for an additional 5-10 minutes.
- Turn the oven onto broil and lightly cook the ziti for a few seconds until lightly browned and the sauce is bubbling. Watch closely, as it will burn very easily.
- Let cool slightly. Garnish with whole basil leaves and serve.