This summer, when my gardens were overflowing with tomatoes, I made batches and batches of fresh marinara sauce and froze them. Perfect to have on hand for recipes such as this . . . nothing from a jar full of preservatives! Just fresh sauce made from fresh, clean and pure tomatoes!
If you have that done, then this recipe is super-fast and yummy. But what about the turkey meatballs? I made a huge batch of these before Thanksgiving and also froze a large freezer bag full to use later. Just click on the link and you’ll be taken to to the recipe.
The rest of this recipe is then so easy! You’ll eat this out of the pan too!
this Italian casserole is authentic and comes from the Northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna where my family lives. I added the turkey meatballs which are not included in the original recipe.
- 3 – 4 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced
- 3 – 4 Tbsp. Italian parsley, minced
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 6 – 8 cups of your favorite marinara sauce **see note below for recipe **
- 1-1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 lb. imported, dried penne pasta
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 6 oz. freshly grated mild Italian sheep cheese (Pecorino is what I use)
- Italian turkey meatballs **see note below for recipe**
- Saute’ the mushrooms and Italian parsley in the olive oil for 2 – 3 minutes on medium-high heat, stirring often; then add the garlic and saute for another few minutes.
- Sprinkle in a little salt and pepper and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the marinara sauce and peas.
- In a tall pot filled with salted water, bring the water to a rolling boil and add the pasta.
- Cook pasta for about 10 minutes, but not until soft (the pasta should be semi-firm).
- Drain pasta in a colander; no need to save any pasta water for this recipe.
- Fold the hot pasta and Parmigiano cheese into the marinara sauce with peas.
- Slice turkey meatballs and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F).
- Brush olive oil on the bottom of a 2-1/2 quart baking dish.
- Spread half of the pasta in sauce into the baking pan.
- Layer all off the mushrooms over the pasta.
- Sprinkle half of the Pecorino cheese over the mushrooms.
- Layer the turkey meatball slices on top of everything.
- Cover the remaining pasta in sauce on top.
- Sprinkle remaining Pecorino cheese on top.
- Lightly cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 1 hour or until an inserted meat thermometer indicates a warm internal temperature.
- Pasta dish should be steaming, releasing a strong aroma.
- Uncover the pasta dish and bake for another 10 minutes until cheese is melted and golden.
- ** I make my own home-made marinara sauce which can be found by doing a search on my blog for "garden fresh marinara sauce".
- I also prepare the Italian turkey meatballs in advance and freeze them.
- My recipe for turkey meatballs, that my Nonna helped me develop, can also be found by doing a search on my blog for "turkey meatballs". **