- 3 lbs. ground beef
- 1 Tbsp. basil
- 1 Tbsp. fennel seed
- 2 tsp. salt
- 16 oz. pasta (I like bowtie)
- 1 cup bread crumb
- 2 cups shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 small curd cottage cheese
- 1 jar spaghetti sauce
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 tsp. minced garlic (or garlic powder)
- 1 Tbsp. parsley
- 1/2 cup water
1. Bring a pot of water to boil and boil pasta noodles until they are just al dente. About 15 minutes, time varies with the pasta used (check package instructions). Because once they go into the oven they’ll cook a little more there.
2. Drain pasta and set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all of the beef, salt, basil, fennel (you can skip fennel if you don’t have any, but I recommend it for a more authentic Italian taste), and parmesan cheese. Mix well and form into 15 equally sized meatballs. Set aside.
4. Add parsley and garlic to cottage cheese and stir together until well mixed.
5. Spray a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray.
6. Pour cottage cheese mixture over bottom of baking dish and spread evenly to cover bottom.
* If you prefer, you can swap steps 6 & 7, but I like adding the cottage cheese on bottom to keep the pasta from scorching or getting hard during the baking process.
7. Pour pasta noodles over cottage cheese.
8. Pour sauce over pasta. Pour water over tomato sauce.
9. Place meatballs in a 3 x 5 fashion, pressing slightly downward into the pasta, but not all the way down.
10. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over everything.
11. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350ºF for 45-55 minutes.
Those are some big meatballs, huh? Sprinkle a little grated parmesan or romano on top if you like.
Serve and enjoy!