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Spaghetti and meatballs is one of those “classic” dishes you probably enjoyed at some point during your childhood but how often do you eat it today? Honestly, I don’t cook it very often because making the meatballs calls for more time and effort than I typically want to exert. And I’m not trying to stand over the stove for too long, especially during the peak of summer, which is where we happen to be currently. If you feel me, today’s baked spaghetti & meatballs recipe is right on time. Get a firm grip on your wig, sis. I’m about to blow your mind with this one.
Even though I just mentioned not having time to make meatballs from scratch, don’t think I’m about to put you onto sad bagged, frozen meatballs. You know the ones I’m talking about. They work in a pinch but are nothing to write home about unless you really finesse them. I am very pleased to tell you about the (fresh, not frozen) Carando® Fresh Italian-Style Meatballs I found at my local Target. For those of us who desire to do more with our meals, Carando provides simple ways to make delicious, Italian dishes. And while spaghetti & meatballs is not technically a traditional Italian meal, the flavor here is authentically Italian. 🙂
In this baked spaghetti & meatballs recipe, I use the Carando Mozzarella Rustica Meatballs, which have cheese and herbs already mixed in. They’re so easy to incorporate–just brown them in your skillet then add in your favorite marinara sauce and vegetables. There’s no mixing, measuring, or meatball-making involved in this dish, which saves you time and effort. Did I mention you don’t even have to boil the pasta? Well, you don’t. This recipe cuts out all the time associated with cooking from scratch but still uses high quality, classic Italian ingredients. You can even sneak in fresh veggies without any picky eaters noticing. Baked spaghetti & meatballs will be a regular part of your dinnertime rotation now, right? Right.
How to Bake Spaghetti
If you’re wondering how to bake pasta without first boiling it, don’t worry–I gotchu! A tiny bit of water plus all the moisture from the veggies and sauce will basically steam your spaghetti as it bakes. It’s basically magic. (For more evidence of no-boil pasta magic, check out this easy veggie pasta skillet.) Anyway, the spaghetti comes out perfectly al dente and beautifully coated by the sauce. And your family probably won’t even notice the veggies you hid in that sauce because…meatballs. Meatballs are more fun than plain old meat sauce and Carando Meatballs have robust flavors my family loves. The Carando Mozzarella Rustica Meatballs in this baked spaghetti & meatballs dish were so juicy and flavorful–they definitely stole all the attention from the mushrooms, zucchini, and spinach I snuck into the marinara sauce. Check out more flavors on Carando’s website.
Tips on Baked Spaghetti & Meatballs
- Make sure to cover the pan tightly with foil. This will keep the precious steam needed to cook the spaghetti from escaping.
- Browning the meatballs helps seal the juiciness and flavor inside. The heat from simmering the sauce then baking the entire dish is what will finish cooking the meatballs through.
- This recipe serves eight but can easily be cut in half for smaller groups or even doubled for a large family feast. With either option, it will be necessary to adjust the size of your baking dish and skillet, accordingly.
I hope this baked spaghetti & meatballs becomes part of your family’s dinner routine. Let me know if you have any questions about this recipe in the comments section below. You’ll also love this delicious shrimp & tomato pasta and my weeknight carbonara recipe–both are ready in under 30 minutes. Thanks for reading!
P.S. Sharing is caring. Pin this recipe for your friends on Pinterest!
Classic spaghetti & meatballs with a veggie-packed sauce and no boiling required!
- 16 Carando Mozzarella Rustica Meatballs (2 eight-count packages)
- 1 zucchini squash
- 6 baby bella mushrooms
- 2 jars your favorite marinara sauce
- 3 handfuls fresh baby spinach leaves
- 32 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 1/2 cup water
- shredded Mozzarella cheese to garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Brown meatballs in a large skillet over medium-high heat (about 2 minutes per side). (To bake meatballs instead: place meatballs on aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes; gently turn meatballs over and bake an additional 13 to 17 minutes until internal temperature reaches at least 165ºF.) Meanwhile, chop zucchini into cubes (about 1/2 inch size) and slice mushrooms.
Reduce heat to medium-low then add zucchini, mushrooms and sauce and cook until bubbly (about 3 minutes). Turn off heat then stir in spinach.
Break spaghetti noodles in halves then add to a large, non-stick baking dish then cover spaghetti with sauce and meatballs. Cover dish tightly with foil and bake for about 25 minutes.
Remove foil and, using a fork, stir to mix pasta with sauce (Pasta will still be slightly stiff) then pour in 1/2 cup water. Re-cover and bake an additional 5-8 minutes or until no water remains in pan.
Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top before serving.