Beef Meatball Pasta Bake

Photographer: Dani
Serves 8

Dani our awesome intern from the food design institute in Dunedin spent a couple of weeks in our Auckland office cooking up a storm.  Now at she’s gone back down South we are really missing the flood of delicious treats!  These meatballs were so tasty, and the gooey surprise in the middle was oh so good.  Here is what Dani had to say about this fantastic family dish.I was raised in a small seaside town in Southland, during winter the weather was terrible. Wind would whip around the streets and rain would pelt overhead. Very cold to say the least! This winter warmer is something that I would have eaten in my childhood, a big tray of goodness to warm the cockles of the heart.

Stocked full of a hearty tomato sauce, pasta and succulent meatballs stuffed with a centre of melty cheese. This makes a giant tray that is sure to feed the whole family.


1/2 cup Milk
2 cups Panko Breadcrumbs
1.2 kg Beef Mince
1 1/2 cup Parmesan
1 1/2 Tbsp Oregano
1 1/2 Egg yolks
3 cups Kale
5 cloves Garlic
550g Mozzarella
1 1/2 Onions
1 1/2 Carrot
3 stalks Celery
3 Tbsp Tomato Paste
600g Chopped Tinned Tomatoes
550ml Chicken Stock
1 1/2 cups Pasta


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Put the breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to soak. Add the beef mince, egg, grated parmesan cheese and half of the crushed garlic, mix to combine.
2. Roll out a small ball of mince push a cube of mozzarella into the middle of the ball, repeat with the rest of the mixture and the cheese.
3. In a frying pan over a medium heat and cook the meatballs, for about 5 minutes or until golden. Remove from the pan and set aside. Heat half of the oil in the same pan over medium heat and add the onion, carrot, celery and remaining garlic. Cook, stirring for 3 to 4 minutes or until softened.
4. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, stock, kale and pasta stir to combine. Return the meatballs to the pan and cover with a tight fitting lid cook in the oven for 15 to 30 minutes or until pasta is al dente and the meatballs are cooked through.