This meatball casserole recipe is made with Italian flavors including a simple marinara sauce and lots of cheese for a warm and hearty meal.
My husband makes delicious homemade Italian meatballs so while I'm trying to stay away from eating too much pasta I decided to make a casserole with his recipe. Of course, you can feel free to add some pasta on the side with this yummy casserole if you wish.
How to Make a Meatball Casserole
First I made a basic marinara sauce with crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt, pepper, and some basil from the garden. If you don't have basil fresh parsley will do. Of course, you can skip this step and substitute your favorite jar of spaghetti sauce.
He uses a mix of beef, pork, and veal in his meatballs. Often you can find this mix labeled as meatloaf mix in the meat section of the grocery store. However, you can also just use ground beef and ground pork.
Here's a nice tip. Grease your baking pan with olive oil and use your hands to spread it around just before rolling the meatballs. The extra oil on your hands will make it easier to roll the meatballs keeping the mix from sticking to your hands.
Since this is a main dish meatball recipe I made large meatballs. They probably measure somewhere between 2 and 2.5 inches in diameter. As you can see, twelve fit well in this baking pan.
Next, the marinara is spooned over the meatballs followed by a nice helping of shredded cheese. I used a pre-shredded Italian blend cheese mix from the store but feel free to use just one such as mozzarella cheese or any combinaton you like.
These were baked at a slightly lower temperature than normal because they were large. And there was a fair amount of grease from the meat. However, if you like you could bake off the meatballs first and then transfer them to another baking dish, topped with sauce and cheese. In that case, you wouldn't need to bake them for long. More like 15 - 20 minutes.
They were really good. It's no surprise because they are basically the same recipe we use to make spaghetti and meatballs. But still, the casserole topped with cheese is just another way to enjoy its deliciousness.
Serve it with a fresh salad and if you want, some tasty garlic bread for a complete meal.
Meatball Casserole Recipe
- 2 pound meatloaf mix beef, pork, veal
- 4 large eggs
- 4 garlic cloves crushed
- 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1.5 cups Italian bread crumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil or parsley
- salt and black pepper
- 4 ounces or 1 cup of shredded Italian cheese blend
- 1 large 32 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic crushed
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
- salt and pepper
- Make the marinara sauce by sauteing olive oil in a medium saucepan on medium to low heat.
- Add garlic and stir quickly to prevent burning.
- Add tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
- Simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Add basil and remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl combine ground meats, eggs, garlic, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, basil, salt, and black pepper.
- Mix with your hands until just combined.
- Grease a baking pan with olive oil.
- Use your hands to spread the oil all over the pan.
- Then start rolling the meatball with the oil on your hands.
- Make large meatballs about 2 - 2.5 inches in diameter.
- Set the rolled meatballs in the greased casserole dish.
- Pour the marinara sauce over the meatballs.
- Top with the shredded cheese.
- Bake in a 325 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.
Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although attempts have been made to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.
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