Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Tasty Tuesday: Baked Spaghetti Meatball Casserole

image via dreamtime.com

I found this recipe one day after I had already started cooking my own spaghetti sauce with lean Italian sausage. Thus, I left out the meatballs and it was still delicious. Admittedly, it seemed strange as I was putting it together and I didn't have high hopes, but wow! It was delicious and different and just the variety we needed in our Italian menus.

Other spaghetti casseroles I looked at were too much like the baked ziti I make; I don't use ricotta in my baked ziti so it's really more like baked Mostaccioli, but layered.

This casserole has a unique taste and even the kids ate heartily (okay...well...the five year old was underwhelmed, but otherwise it was a good night. She comes around eventually.)

Source for original recipe is spendwithpennies.com. It's a recipe site I highly recommend for families.

Ingredients for meatballs (Optional-- you could just use your own meat sauce)

1 lb lean ground beef (I use 93/7 lean ground turkey)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 T. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 T. fresh chopped parsley
1 egg

Directions for meatballs:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients and form into 1 inch balls. Place on a foil lined pan and bake 18 - 20 minutes. Remove meatballs from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Ingredients for casserole:

12 oz. package thin spaghetti

1 T. olive oil

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, (reserving 1 1/2 cups for casserole topping; 1/2 cup needed for casserole mixture)

1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for casserole topping; 1/4 cup needed for casserole mixture)

1 large egg slightly beaten

2 T. fresh parsley

28 oz. pasta sauce (or more to taste; I used a cup more)

Directions for casserole:

Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with olive oil. In another bowl stir together egg, parsley, pepper, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pepper. Toss with the pasta and place in sprayed casserole dish.

Yes, at this point it will look dry and unappetizing, but trust me--it turns out tasty. :)

Top with meatballs and pasta sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheeses (1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan), and continue to bake until cheese is melted and browned.

Do you have a baked spaghetti casserole already in your repertoire? What do you love about it? How does it differ?



Amber said...

You must have posted this just for me, due to yesterday's post. At least I like to think you posted it just for me. ;-)

It sounds wonderful! I'm going to have to copy this recipe down so I can try it soon.

Thanks for sharing!

Christine said...

Lol, Amber. :) It takes some time to make this when you are first getting used to it, so I wasn't thinking about you since you have so much going on right now. But do try it when extra-curriculars settle down for the year. It is different and tasty. Next time I will add extra sauce at the table I think.