Tonight, I pre-made a dish to take with us this weekend while we're at our cabin rental in Asheville. I made a two casserole dishes, a mini one for tonight and a larger one to freeze and serve with our friends. I really think the cheeseburger meatballs made the dish; they were tender, moist, and full of flavor. This was good, but I'm anticipating it being even better after baking the second time at the longer temperature.
- 1 whole wheat pound, such as penne
- 1 pound ground sirloin
- 1 tablespoon grill seasoning (I also added a little sausage seasoning blend)
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1 tablespoon EVOO, divided
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Salt and ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 2 cups 1% milk
- 2 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta to boiling water and cook just shy of al dente, according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve.
In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine the ground sirloin with the grill seasoning, ketchup and yellow mustard. Grab about a tablespoon of meat in your hand and roll it into a small ball. Place the mini meatballs onto a baking sheet, bake until cooked through, about 15 minutes. Turn off the oven and turn on the broiler.
While the mini meatballs are in the oven, heat a large saucepot over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon EVOO and the butter. Sprinkle flour over top and cook for about 1 minute. Whisk in the milk, season with salt and pepper, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes.
Remove sauce from heat and whisk in 1 cup of each cheese. Add the drained pasta to the cheese sauce along with the baked meatballs and toss to combine.
Pour everything out into a casserole dish and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and Swiss cheeses.
**Toss the mac under the broiler until the top is golden brown and bubbly.
**To freeze, prepare casserole up to the point of putting it under the broiler. Let it cool down, wrap well with plastic wrap and pop into the freezer. When you're ready to cook it up, take it out of the freezer the night before and let it defrost in the refrigerator. Pop it into a 375ºF oven until heated through, about 35 minutes, and then brown the top under the broiler.