I wanted to get this recipe up for you guys ASAP!! We made this meatball parmesan casserole on our instagram stories last night and it was SUCH a hit with our family! I was trying to think of something different I could do with ground beef and so I searched on pinterest for “ground beef” and threw a couple of different recipes together to come up with this! I named it meatball parmesan casserole because it’s kind of like a meatball parmesan sub sandwich, but baked into pasta instead.
It’s a bit of a multi-step process but I promise it’s super easy and you most likely have the necessary ingredients in your pantry.
You can 100% used a jar of sauce but homemade is SO easy. This is ALL I do to my sauce and it’s delicious, and just 4 ingredients.
- 3 28-ounce cans of Hunts tomatoes. You can use whole peeled, crushed, diced, etc… What I had in my pantry was 2 cans of diced and one can of sauce. I like to use Hunts because the tomatoes taste the best, they are light and not as acidic as the others. They are also full of flavor and remind me of the fresh jars my Italian friends used to make with their grandmas!
- Half of one onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- fresh basil to add at the end (not required but adds a lot if you have it!)
- 2 lbs of ground beef (I like 85/15 fat ratio, we use that for everything)
- 1 1/2 of italian seasoned breadcrumbs (use regular and add 1/2 tsp italian seasoning if that’s all you have)
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp salt + a couple turns of freshly ground pepper
- go to your sauce and add a healthy ladle (about 1/3 cup) of the sauce
- 1 box of pasta (you can use whatever you have, we had rigatoni)
- mozzarella cheese (fresh would be best but since we’re on quarantine we had half of a bag of Sargento and it was great)
- freshly grated pecorino (you can omit but it does add so much!)
- fresh basil (another thing you can omit but does add a nice fresh taste)
- To make your sauce, heat up about 1/4 cup of olive oil in a sauce pan.
- Add your diced onion and sauté until translucent
- Drain out any water/juice from the cans of sauce into the sink, and them add them to the pot.
- Using a hand blender (or you could use a blender) mix all of the tomatoes together until you get a consistency you like
- Add one teaspoon of salt, or as much as you like to taste.
- Let the sauce come to a boil, then cover on simmer while you’re working on everything else.
- Add your ground beef to a bowl, and next add your other ingredients : 2 eggs, breadcrumbs, salt + pepper. Mix this up with your hands.
- Secret step, go to your sauce pot, and add a healthy ladle of sauce and mix that all in with your hands.
- Roll into balls and place in a preheated oven of 375.
- Let these bake until brown and cooked through, about 20-25 minutes. Leave your oven on, but turn it down to 325.
While your meatballs are in the oven, cook your pasta until it’s right before al dente, so a little white on the inside. You’re going to be cooking it in the oven so you don’t want it to get super mushy from being overcooked.
Once your meatballs are done, let’s start mixing up our casserole. Drain the pasta when it’s ready and add it to a casserole dish. Add a nice amount of sauce, making sure it hits each noodle. When you add your meatballs, arrange them like you want each person to get one meatball. You’ll have extra and you can freeze them for another meal!
Top with enough cheese to make one layer, I used about 1 cup of shredded mozzarella and sprinkled some pecorino. Next add some fresh basil.
Add this casserole to your oven and cook for about 10 minutes.
You’re done!! Enjoy!