Meatball Parmesan Casserole

Meatball Parmesan Casserole: A Classic Comfort Dish Reimagined

Meatball Parmesan Casserole

Who doesn’t love a hearty, cheesy, and downright delicious casserole that’s easy to whip up and satisfies the whole family? Enter Meatball Parmesan Casserole, a dish that brings together all the flavors you love in a classic Italian meal but with a twist. This recipe is straightforward, bursting with flavor, and perfect for weeknight dinners or special gatherings. Let’s dive into how you can create this mouthwatering dish right in your kitchen.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 1 cup of breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for topping
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 jar of marinara sauce (about 24 ounces)
  • 2 cups of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Fresh basil for garnish (optional)

Instructions

Step 1: Preheat Your Oven

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. This step ensures that your casserole cooks evenly and the cheese melts to perfection.

Step 2: Prepare the Meatball Mixture

In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix until all the ingredients are well incorporated. This blend is what will give your meatballs their incredible flavor and texture.

Step 3: Form the Meatballs

Form small meatballs out of the mixture, making about 16 to 20 meatballs. The size of the meatballs is up to you, but smaller ones cook faster and are easier to serve.

Step 4: Brown the Meatballs

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Brown the meatballs on all sides, then remove them from the pan. This should take about 5 to 7 minutes. Browning the meatballs adds a lovely crust and enhances their flavor.

Step 5: Prepare the Baking Dish

Pour a thin layer of marinara sauce into the bottom of a baking dish. This prevents the meatballs from sticking and adds an extra layer of flavor.

Step 6: Assemble the Casserole

Place the browned meatballs on top of the sauce in the dish. Pour the remaining marinara sauce over the meatballs, ensuring they are well covered. This step is crucial for keeping the meatballs moist and flavorful.

Step 7: Add the Cheese

Sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese generously over the meatballs and sauce. Top with an additional sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese. The cheese layer creates that gooey, irresistible topping that makes this dish so comforting.

Step 8: Bake

Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and lightly golden on top. This baking time allows the flavors to meld together perfectly.

Step 9: Garnish and Serve

Optional: Garnish with fresh basil before serving for a touch of color and freshness. Enjoy your Meatball Parmesan Casserole straight out of the oven for the best melted cheese experience!

Tips and Tricks

  • Use Fresh Ingredients: Fresh garlic and basil can significantly elevate the flavors of your casserole.
  • Don’t Overmix: When combining the meatball ingredients, mix just until everything is combined to keep the meatballs tender.
  • Cheese Variations: Feel free to experiment with different cheeses. A blend of mozzarella and provolone can add an extra layer of flavor.
  • Make Ahead: You can prepare the meatballs and sauce ahead of time. Assemble the casserole and refrigerate it, then bake when ready to serve.

FAQs

Can I use ground turkey instead of ground beef?

Absolutely! Ground turkey is a leaner option and works just as well in this recipe. Just be aware that it might result in a slightly different texture.

Can I freeze Meatball Parmesan Casserole?

Yes, you can. Prepare the casserole as directed, but don’t bake it. Cover it tightly with aluminum foil and freeze. When ready to eat, bake it directly from the freezer at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 45 minutes to an hour, or until heated through.

What sides go well with this dish?

Garlic bread, a fresh green salad, or steamed vegetables are excellent sides that complement the rich flavors of Meatball Parmesan Casserole.

How do I store leftovers?

Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Conclusion

Meatball Parmesan Casserole is a delightful dish that combines the best of Italian flavors in a convenient, family-friendly format. With simple ingredients like ground beef, breadcrumbs, and marinara sauce, you can create a meal that’s both comforting and impressive. Whether you’re a busy mom looking for an easy weeknight dinner or hosting a gathering, this casserole is sure to be a hit. So, what are you waiting for? Give this recipe a try and enjoy the deliciousness of homemade Meatball Parmesan Casserole!

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