Baked Spaghetti with Panko Meatballs

I don’t know about you but I love meals that I can pop in the oven and bake while I accomplish other tasks around the house. This spaghetti and meatballs recipe is one of those.


My version is adapted from a recipe in the October issue of Real Simple magazine.


The ingredients: Ground beef, panko bread crumbs, eggs, marinara sauce, spaghetti, fresh mozzarella, milk, salt and pepper, and basil. Sadly, I couldn’t find fresh basil so I had to resort to dried. Fresh basil would be a delightful addition to this recipe.


Use clean hands to lightly combine the meatball mixture and form it into 20 meatballs.


My meatballs are far from symmetrical. I like to call them “earthy.”


The spaghetti goes in uncooked, saving me time.


Then it bakes (cover it first) for an hour. Make sure to stir every 20 minutes, though.


After you fold some laundry, sweep the floor, and peruse your Facebook newsfeed, slice up some mozzarella.


I suppose you could use shredded mozzarella, but layering the good stuff on like this yields a yummy, cheesy, stringy result.


Then broil this bad boy for a little while and you are ready to serve!


My daughter devoured the meatballs and the recipe makes enough for a crowd or for weeknight leftovers. And I love weeknight leftovers.


  • Heat oven to 400 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, combine 2 pounds ground beef, 1 3/4 cups panko bread crumbs, 1 cup whole milk, 2 large eggs, beaten, and some salt and pepper.
  • Form into 20 meatballs.
  • Whisk together 32 ounces of marinara sauce and 1 cup of water in a 2 1/2 quart baking dish.
  • Add 16 ounces of spaghetti (broken in half) to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Arrange in an even layer.
  • Add the raw meatballs on top of the spaghetti and sprinkle with basil. Use fresh basil if possible!
  • Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 60 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes.
  • Top with sliced fresh mozzarella and broil, uncovered, 6 inches from the heat for about 5 minutes or until the cheese melts.

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