Truth: I live in a home full of Italian food loving guys. No matter what night of the week it is, I know that a delicious Italian pasta dish is sure to disappear from my family table. With that in mind, I’m always looking for ingredients that bring the classic Italian flavors of the old world to dishes that I can create in my own kitchen. You see, I’m a believer in the philosophy that simple is best and when it comes to ingredients for my Italian dishes, I leave the meatballs to the experts. By combining the expertise that goes into the creation of Carando® Abruzzese Fresh Italian Style Meatballs with my own quick and easy pasta sauce, the options are endless when it come to creating an amazing meal. While this pairing can be used in any number of dishes (think meatball subs, classic spaghetti and meatballs and even a marinara meatball skillet) my family’s favorite dish right now just happens to be my warm, delicious and hearty Italian Meatball Bake.
Now, as I mentioned earlier, there are certain tasks I leave to the experts. While I pride myself on what comes out of my kitchen, I fully know that there are certain things that the professionals just do better. That’s why I make sure to always have Carando meatballs in my home. These perfectly made meatballs can be found in the refrigerated meat aisle of my local Food Lion are packed full of Italian flavors and I can even get them in a different varieties like Abruzzese Italian Meatballs, Mozzarella Rustica Meatballs and Sicilian Meatballs. Even better, from December 5th through 12th, when I scan my MVP rewards card at the Entry Point Kiosk at Food Lion, I will receive special deals and offers on Carando meatballs! Totally awesome right? While any time I’m at Food Lion I make a bee-line straight for these delicious meatballs that really make my Italian dishes so delicious, these special deals and offers make it the best time ever to pick up this tasty ingredient! And since I can always find a variety of Carando meatballs quickly and easily while doing my weekly shopping, adding them to my Italian Meatball Bake is a no-brainer!
I personally adore the Carando Abruzzese Italian Meatballs for my Italian Meatball Bake because they are authentically crafted with a blend of cheese and herbs and they come pre-made, meaning that I don’t have to spend extra time in the kitchen to get that old world flavor that complements my dish just right. Once I’ve got my Carando meatballs, putting together my Italian Meatball Bake is so simple!
- 2 packs of Carando Abruzzese Italian Meatballs 16 oz.
- 1 box of rotini pasta
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 3 tablespoons of minced garlic
- ¼ cup of chicken broth
- 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
- 1 6 ounce can of tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 and ½ tablespoon of fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon of oregano
- ¼ cup of chopped basil
- ¼ cup of chopped parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup of parmesan cheese
- Diced parsley to garnish
- Sauté the diced sweet onion and garlic in the olive oil until onions are transparent.
- Immediately add chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper.
- Stir together and bring the sauce to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and continue to simmer.
- Cook the pasta and Carando meatballs according to the directions on the package.
- Drain the pasta and mix it with the pasta sauce.
- Layer half of the pasta and sauce mixture into a baking dish.
- Top with half the cooked Carando meatballs.
- Add the remainder of the pasta.
- Finish with the remaining Carando Meatballs.
- Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and back at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes.
- Sprinkle diced parsley over the top and serve with bread and a salad.
To start my Italian Meatball Bake, I needed to create a quick and easy marinara sauce that complemented the herbs in the Carando meatballs perfectly. To do this, I simply sautéed my diced onions and garlic in my olive oil until they were translucent. Then I added my chicken broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, sugar, herbs and salt and pepper to the pan and stirred it all together. Easy peasy!
I brought my sauce to a boil and then reduced the heat to low to let it simmer while I worked on the rest of my Italian Meatball Bake ingredients. While my sauce was simmering, I added my Carando meatballs to a lined baking sheet and baked them according to the directions on the package. Since these meatballs only take 20 minutes to bake perfectly, it was a deliciously convenient way to really take my dish to the next level without having to spend tons of time in the kitchen.
While my Carando meatballs from Food Lion were baking, I cooked my pasta according to the directions on the package, drained it and immediately mixed it with my sauce that had been simmering for about 20 minutes.
With my pasta and my Carando meatballs ready, all that was left to do was to assemble my Italian Meatball Bake. I quickly grabbed a baking dish and spooned half of my pasta mixture into the bottom. Then, I added half of my meatballs to the middle of my Italian Meatball Bake. Why did I do this? Quite simply I wanted everyone around my table to get meatballs in every bite and since the flavor of Carando meatballs is what makes this dish amazing, for me simply putting them on top was not enough.
After spooning the remainder of my pasta over my layer of meatballs, I added my remaining Carando meatballs to the top of my pasta dish, gently pushing them down into the pasta to keep them nestled perfectly in place.
With all my meatballs added to my Italian Meatball Bake, I sprinkled my cheese over the top and popped it back in the oven on 350 degrees Fahrenheit for fifteen minutes, just long enough to heat everything up perfectly and make the cheese nice and melty.
When I pulled my Italian Meatball Bake out of the oven, I had perfection in a dish that I knew my family would absolutely adore.
Under the bubbly cheese, my Carando Abruzzese Italian Meatballs peeked out, promising the old world flavor that only Carando delivers in each and every bite.
After adding a side of bread and a fresh salad to the table, I called my family to dinner and the minute they saw my classic Italian meal, their eyes lit up. But I knew they were about to be even more excited when they started dipping.
You see, with my Carando meatballs in the middle and on top of my Italian Meatball Bake, I knew that these flavorful, easy little nuggets of Italian goodness were going to be the star of this simple-to-make dish.
And I was right. With each spoonful that I served up, my family members were rewarded for a long day with filling pasta, tangy sauce and best of all the amazing taste of Carando meatballs from Food Lion.
While my contributions to this dish made it good, the Carando meatballs truly made it great and the best part was, turning a good dish into an amazing one only required a trip to Food Lion for Carando meatballs.
No matter what Italian inspiration strikes in your home tonight, make sure you’re ready to take your classic Italian dishes to the next level by heading to Food Lion to pick up Carando meatballs today. Don’t forget to look for the Entry Point Kiosk when you enter Food Lion from December 5th through 12th where you’ll be able to scan your MVP rewards card for special deals and offers of Carando meatballs. Then use those delicious, flavorful, easy meatballs to make my Italian Meatball Bake or create your own Italian inspired dish.
Now tell me, what will you be making for dinner tonight with Carando meatballs from Food Lion?