A Southern Grace: last hurrah

June 4, 2018

last hurrah


Cheesy meatball casserole. I made a huge batch of meatballs right before Eva was born as part of my stock-the-freezer project, and I finally used the last of them this week.

This recipe is a no-brainer--meatballs, pasta, sauce, and plenty of cheese make for a delicious casserole any which way you combine them. I seared the meatballs and soaked the pasta before mixing them with the sauce and ricotta, and the result was a creamy, salty, meaty exemplar of comfort food.

You can use whatever pasta shape you prefer, I'm sure, and homemade sauce would make this even better. I like the presence of ricotta in the filling, but it probably isn't essential if you don't have any; cottage cheese would make a good substitute.

This child wants to put her feet on everything.

As it turns out, having a bunch of meatballs in the freezer is a very good thing--not only are they a quick and easy fix when you're short on time, but they can also turn into something extremely delicious! We had them atop spaghetti, baked with mozzarella and sauce, on subs, and as a casserole, and I can state with certainty that it was worth standing at the counter for half an hour hand-rolling each one!

Comfort in a Casserole Dish
(printable recipe)
Serves 4-6
  • 12 1-inch meatballs, homemade or purchased
  • 16 ounces (2 cups) marinara sauce, homemade or purchased
  • 1/4 pound (4 ounces) pasta, any shape
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • Basil chiffonade, for garnish
In a large saucepan, saute the meatballs in a little bit of oil until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.
Heat the marinara sauce in a large pot on the stove, then add the seared meatballs to the sauce, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Soak the pasta in hot salted water for 30 minutes, then drain, cool slightly, and stir in the ricotta cheese.
Heat oven to 400 degrees F and spray a small (1-1/2 to 2 quart) casserole dish; set aside.
Add the pasta to the meatballs and sauce and spoon everything into the prepared dish.
Top with the mozzarella cheese and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted.
Garnish with basil and serve.


Angie's Recipes said...

Any dish that involves plenty of cheese is a winner for me! This looks amazing, Grace.

Kelsie | the itsy-bitsy kitchen said...

All that cheese! This looks fantastic!

Gloria Baker said...

absolutely love this Grace, and love this little feet! cute!

Pam said...

So yummy! Her adorable little foot AND the casserole.

Alicia Foodycat said...

Look at those little toes!

This is such a good idea - my husband loves meatballs, I should stock the freezer.

Emma - Bake Then Eat said...

Freezers are a great thing and a real life saver especially when life is just to busy to make meals every night from scratch.

Katerina Delidimou said...

Totally my kind of meal!

Georgie Eats said...

CHEESY MEATBALL CASSEROLE... can you get 3 more beautiful words?! Haha, I am going to have to make this, my mouth is drooooooling!

Marjie said...

"Cheese" and "Meatballs". What else do you need to say? Delicious is the absolute logical conclusion.

All That I'm Eating said...

This looks great, brilliant idea to do a load of batch cooking before the little one arrives!

Unknown said...

Love that little foot in the photo! Pilling great food from the freezer is the best. Great use of it!

Inger@Art of Natural Living said...

You know I got many packages of chicken meatballs for a sponsored post (all pre-cooked even) and I loved having them in the freezer for so many dishes like this! (And really how much more special is spaghetti with meatballs rather than ground meat in the sauce...) . What brilliance to do your own--then I could have them even eating locally!

Adina said...

It looks delicious, and the little sweet foot looks even better. :)

Marcelle said...

My kids love homemade meatballs, but I usually just make enough for one meal. But, stockpiling meatballs is an excellent plan! The name is perfect for this casserole, looks delicious!

Pam said...

This sounds delicious, perfect! And so are those little toes!

Velva said...

I see baby feet! Meatball casserole is a family winner. It's easy to put together, comforting and satisfying.


Food Gal said...

This is total comfort food -- the type I can enjoy no matter what day of the week or what season. Crave-a-licious.

Amy (Savory Moments) said...

This is so totally tasty comfort food right here!

Karen (Back Road Journal) said...

Having frozen meatballs in the freezer is a great convenience but with a little one, I would think it is almost essential.

Natalie @ Obsessive Cooking Disorder said...

Haha the toes add extra flavor :D

Katerina Delidimou said...

I am so drooling now!

Gloria Baker said...

this looks yumm !!!