The Pioneer Woman Tasty Kitchen
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Spaghetti and Meatballs Casserole

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Level: Easy

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Description

A crowd-pleasing weeknight dinner, this spaghetti and meatballs casserole is so much better than standard spaghetti and meatballs. This gives you pockets of melted mozzarella and crispy bits of spaghetti on top!

Ingredients

  • 7 ounces, weight Spaghetti Noodles
  • 1 Tablespoon Oil
  • 12 whole (vegetarian) Meatballs (I Used Store Bought)
  • 1 whole Red Onion, Diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 whole Carrot, Grated
  • 3-⅝ ounces, weight Mushrooms, Diced
  • 1-½ ounces, weight Black Olives, Chopped
  • ¾ pounds, 2-⅛ ounces, weight Tomato Sauce
  • 3 tablespoons, 1 teaspoon, 2-⅓ pinches Water
  • Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 3-⅝ ounces, weight Fresh Mozzarella Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Fresh Basil, Chopped

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 190°C (gas mark 5 or 375°F).

Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions for al dente (it will cook a little further in the oven).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, and begin to cook the meatballs. Mine were being cooked from frozen, so I cooked them quite slowly over a fairly low heat, but if yours are not frozen, you can cook them a bit more quickly over a slightly higher heat. When the meatballs are browned, add the onion, garlic and grated carrot into the pan. Cook for several more minutes before adding the mushrooms. Let everything cook together, stirring occasionally, for another 5 minutes or so, until the vegetables are soft and the meatballs are thawed (again, they’ll cook further in the oven, but you want them to at least not be frozen any more).

When the pasta is ready, drain it and combine it with the meatball mixture, the chopped olives and the tomato sauce. If the mixture looks a bit thick, add a dash of water as well (if you used sauce from a jar, use the water to get the last bits from the jar). Season to taste.

Transfer the mixture to a large baking dish (I used a deep 9×13 dish). I placed the meatballs in first to ensure that they were fairly evenly spaced out, then topped them with the remaining pasta and sauce. Dot with the diced mozzarella cheese, and press it in a little (alternatively you could grate the cheese and scatter it over the pasta, but I like the cheese to stay in little melted pockets).

Put it into the oven and bake for around 25 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the edges of the spaghetti are a little crispy. Serve with fresh basil.

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