Take Out Fake Out: Simple Penne and Meatballs

I don’t care how close to ‘bikini season’ it is, sometimes you just need a big bowl of pasta to fill the void. I have a major weakness for pasta with tomato sauce, and meatballs make that weakness even more debilitating.

My usual process when it comes to deciding what to make for dinner, is:


“No, I can’t…what about a salad?”


“C’mon, just one salad won’t kill you.”

“It might, you never know.”

“But you’ve already eaten pasta 3 times this week and it’s only Monday.”

“Fine, I’ll make TACOS.”

Did I mention tacos were another weakness of mine?

Basically, I have an internal confrontation whenever I want to make pasta. It doesn’t help that I always purposely accidentally make too much, so I end up having it for leftovers for 3 days straight.

No matter what, pasta is always an awesome go-to dinner, because it is quick, easy, hearty and satisfying.

And seriously, it’s totally okay to indulge every once in a while.

This is a super basic tomato sauce with easy pork meatballs and penne, I think you will love it!

As usual, please comment below if you have an idea of something you would like to see on an upcoming edition of Take Out Fake Out.


Simple Penne and Meatballs:

Serves 6

Total time: 60 minutes

Total time where you’re actually doing things: 15 minutes

What you need:

for the meatballs

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup minced Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

for the pasta:

  • 1 package penne pasta (or whatever shape you like) cooked according to package directions
  • 1/2 white onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. tomato paste
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 can diced tomatoes (28 oz)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • More parmesan and chopped parsley for garnish

In a mixing bowl, add all the meatball ingredients and mix together with clean hands, until incorporated. Gently form into meatballs about the size of a small golf ball. Place onto a plate or baking sheet lined with wax paper, repeat until you’ve formed all the meatballs.

Set a large and deep pan over medium high heat until very hot. Carefully add about half the meatballs and proceed to cook until browned on all sides. Remove from the pan, repeat with the remaining meatballs. When the second batch is done, remove from the pan and add the onion and garlic and sauté until softened, about 2-3 minutes, stirring often. Add the tomato paste, oregano, basil, chili flakes, sugar and stir. Add the diced tomatoes and water and stir again until combined. Bring the sauce to a simmer, then add the meatballs, cover the pan and cook for 35-40 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Check for seasoning and add more salt or pepper if desired.

Toss in the cooked pasta and serve with a sprinkle of parmesan and parsley.