Have you ever made a recipe and when it was done you went “hey, this would be really good if I made it a little differently”, or “this would be good in a quesadilla”, or “this would make a great sauce”? Well, if you checked out our last article called “Mediterranean Dip Shooters”, you know that it was essentially four dips that were layered in small shooter cups, then garnished with peppers, salami and breadsticks. Kind of fancy game day appetizers. Well, while Jena and I were doing the photography for those, I found myself saying “hey, these would make a great saucy meatball bake.”
Do you love lasagne as much as we do? Yes, I know, that pasta is a bit of a problem these days with everyone cutting out gluten. But what if that lasagne was made without lasagne noodles, we used meatballs instead of meat sauce, we added some olive tapenade, added some gorgonzola cheese to the ricotta, then topped the whole dish with fresh and part skim shredded mozzarella cheese, baked it until gooey and finished it off with some pesto and chopped parsley? Well, if we did it all right in one large skillet, we’d have the casserole version of the Mediterranean dip shooters.
Those four dips make fabulous additions to this pasta less lasagne. The roasted pepper spread combined with store bought marinara would be great on it’s own with the meatballs, but when you add spoonfuls of the kalamata and ricotta dips to the marinara pepper sauce, it adds an explosion of flavor that is to die for. The double mozzarella combo is fabulously cheesy and the pesto on top really makes this one pot dish sing. Add a little chopped parsley and you’ve got a unique, simple to make dish that is guaranteed to put a smile on everyones face and warm their insides. That is a good thing when it’s below zero in Wisconsin. If pasta isn’t a problem, make your traditional lasagne and just use the sauces in layers. You literally can’t go wrong. The leftovers are just as good the second, third or fourth day, so make a double batch if you want some the next day. Until next time, cook with love and live to cook.
Jim & Jena
- 1 Tbsp. Light olive oil
- 12 ea. Fresh meatballs, thawed
- 1 cup Prepared marinara sauce
- 1 cup Prepared roasted pepper/tomato dip (see recipe)
- 1 cup Prepared cheese dip (see recipe)
- ½ cup Prepared kalamata olive dip (see recipe)
- 8 ozs. Fresh mozzarella, sliced
- 1 cup Part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
- ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup Prepared pesto dip (see recipe)
- 1 Tbsp. Fresh parsley, chopped
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large frying pan or skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown on all sides (about 5-7 minutes).
- Lower heat to low, then stir in marinara and red pepper dip. Bring to a simmer(about 5 minutes)
- Spoon dollops of cheese and olive dips. Simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Top with fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is bubbling and lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes..
- Spoon pesto dip on top of the melted cheese. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve.