An easy, crowd-pleasing meal for any night of the week, baked spaghetti and meatballs is cooked all in one dish for big flavors and little cleanup.
But we like what we like and, even though I do occasionally mix things up, I’m currently liking meals that are easy prep and easy cleanup. That’s exactly why, when I came across a spaghetti and meatballs recipe that was baked, didn’t require precooking of the pasta, and could be cooked all in one dish, I knew I had to make it.
This baked spaghetti and meatballs recipe sat on my to-make list for way too long, mainly because I had to wait to get my hands on lean ground beef. My tiny local grocery store doesn’t carry it, but I knew using any other kind would leave this dish greasy and unappealing. When I finally did buy lean ground beef, I wasted no time in whipping this up.
It was definitely a hit. I prepare meatless meals a few days a week, so anything with meat is an immediate favorite for J. It doesn’t hurt that these meatballs were tender, not dry (sorry, moist), and full of flavor. The pasta was perfectly cooked and coated in sauce. The whole thing was topped off with melted cheese- the kind that’s just starting to turn golden. Mmm.
The recipe was so fast to put together. Like, the whole thing was ready to be baked in the time it took the oven to preheat. The bake time itself is slightly longer than most of my easy weeknight meals, but I don’t mind that when the time is mostly hands-off. In fact, the baking time would be the perfect window to whip up a tasty vegetable side dish or a few slices of garlic bread.
The recipe makes enough to feed three to four people, depending on appetites and side dishes.
Baked Spaghetti and Meatballs
adapted from Frugal Living NW
2 c. marinara sauce
1/2 c. water
8 oz. uncooked spaghetti noodles
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 c. Panko bread crumbs
1/3 c. milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 ts. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2-3/4 c. grated Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a 1 1/2 to 2 quart dish (I love the color and design of this, even though it’s a little bigger than necessary), combine the marinara and water. Break up the spaghetti noodles and stir them into the sauce, tossing lightly until the noodles are coated. Push the noodles into an even-ish layer on the bottom of the dish.
In a large bowl, combine the beef, bread crumbs, milk, egg, salt, garlic, Italian seasoning, and pepper. Mix well; it’s easiest to use your hands. Form the beef mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on top of the noodles. You should get 6-8 meatballs.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, stirring gently after 25 minutes, or until noodles are soft and meatballs are cooked through. Top with cheese and return to the oven under the broiler for 3-4 minutes, or until cheese is melted and beginning to turn golden. Serve hot.
(this post contains affiliate links; to learn more, see my disclosure policy)