Cheesy Penne & Meatballs Garlic Bread Bowls

  • Author: The Kitchen Whisperer

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  • 2 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (~1 packet)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105155 degrees F/4046 degrees C)
  • 2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 tablespoon butter, cut into cubes (cold)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (or any high gluten), plus extra as needed
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon oregano, dried
  • All-purpose flour for rolling and shaping


  • 4 cups cooked penne pasts
  • 3 cups Marinara Sauce, warmed
  • 4 tablespoon ricotta
  • 4 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 4 large cooked meatballs, cut in half

Additional Items

  • 12 tablespoon melted butter
  • cornmeal


Make the dough

  1. Proof the yeast by pouring the yeast and sugar into the warm water in a bowl of your stand mixer and gently stir until the yeast dissolves.
  2. Let the yeast and water stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If the yeast doesn’t foam, it is either inactive of you have used water that is too cold or too hot; start over with fresh yeast.)
  3. Once the yeast has bloomed, add in the flour, oregano and garlic and fit your mixer with a dough hook.
  4. Mix on low until combined stopping if need be to scrape down the sides.
  5. After 3 minutes of mixing, add in the salt. You never want to add the salt directly to the yeast as that will kill it on contact.
  6. Mix until a soft, smooth elastic ball forms; ~8-10 minutes. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl but still be wet/tacky to the touch. If need be add a tablespoon of flour or so to help combine. If it’s too dry, add a tablespoon of water.
  7. Add in the butter cubes and mix for another 3-5 minutes or until the butter is all incorporated. Don’t worry as the dough will separate initially but it will come back into a smooth dough.
  8. Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a very lightly floured surface.
  9. Give it a few kneads to form the dough into a smooth ball tucking the ‘ends’ underneath.
  10. Place in a lightly oiled bowl (at least 2-3 times bigger than the ball) and cover with plastic wrap.
  11. Place bowl in a warm, draft-free area. Allow the dough to double in size. ~2 hours.
  12. Once the dough is doubled in size, scrape it out onto a lightly floured area and divide the dough into 4 equal sized pieces.
  13. Gently form the pieces into 4 smooth balls tucking the ‘ends’ underneath.
  14. Place on a lightly greased pan.
  15. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let sit for 30 minutes.

Make the filling

  1. In a bowl place the noodles, 2 cups of marinara sauce, 1 cup of mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan.
  2. Gently mix to combine and set aside.


  1. Preheat the oven to 450F with the rack in the middle. If you have a Pizza Stone , place that in the center. If you don’t, invent a large baking pan and place that in the oven while preheating. I personally use a Pizza Screen (which doesn’t need preheated). If you use a pizza stone, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on heating that up.
  2. If using a pizza stone or baking pan, place the dough ball on a Pizza Peel or parchment paper with cornmeal on it. If using a pizza screen, just pat the dough out on lightly floured surface.
  3. Start with the dough ball and pat down/stretch the center of the dough ball and slowly stretching the dough to a 6” round circle. Leave a 3/4“ edge. Do NOT make the middle that thin. You just want to create almost a ‘lip’ around the edge.
  4. Brush the edges of the dough (the lip) with the melted butter.
  5. Take 2-3 tablespoon of marinara sauce and place a thin layer of sauce in the well. You should have about a 1/2 cup sauce leftover. Save this
  6. Take a quarter of the pasta filling and mound that in the ‘well’ part of the dough. It should mound up at least an inch high. It’s OK as you want this. The dough will cook up and around the filling.
  7. Place 1 meatball (2 halves) on top of the filling.
  8. Top each one with 2 tablespoon of the remaining marinara sauce.
  9. Evenly divide the remaining shredded mozzarella over top of the filling.
  10. If using a pizza stone, slide the dough onto the pizza stone. If using a baking sheet, place the parchment paper with the dough on top. If using a screen, place inside the oven directly.
  11. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until the dough is crispy golden brown and the cheese is melted.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 1-2 minutes.
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