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.

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

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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.

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

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

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The spaghetti goes in uncooked, saving me time.

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

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

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

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

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

Recipe:

  • 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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