by Susan Reesor
Here’s a tasty meal for a cold winter’s night or a fast dish to take to a potluck meal. The pasta and the meatballs cook in the baking dish in the marinara sauce along with some extra water. It’s delicious and best of all there are hardly any preparation dishes to wash. Do you want to eat more vegetables? Add some chopped, frozen spinach to the tomato sauce. Picky eaters may not even notice it.
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
12 ounces spaghetti, broken in half
24 oz. (730 ml) jar of marinara sauce (or make your own quick tomato sauce from a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, onion, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, pepper)
2 cups water, plus extra hot water as needed
1 pound lean ground beef
¾ cup bread crumbs
⅓ cup prepared basil pesto
Salt and pepper
Grated Parmesan cheese
- Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 475 degrees. Grease a 9”x13” baking dish. Spread the uncooked, broken spaghetti into the prepared dish.
- Using hands, combine beef, bread crumbs, pesto, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper in bowl just until combined. Break off and roll mixture into 1-inch meatballs (about 16 meatballs).
- Pour marinara sauce and water over pasta and toss gently with tongs to coat.
- Nestle the meatballs on top of pasta in dish. Cover the top tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Remove dish from oven and stir pasta thoroughly, scraping sides and bottom of dish. Return uncovered dish to oven and continue to bake until pasta is tender and sauce is thickened, 5 to 8 minutes.
- Remove dish from oven. Toss to coat the pasta and meatballs with sauce, adjusting sauce consistency with extra hot water as needed. Let cool for 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with grated Parmesan.
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen.