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cast iron skilled of baked meatballs and pasta covered in cheese

Meatball Pasta Bake

Everyone loves meatballs and pasta! This hearty baked pasta casserole is a fan-favorite for the entire family.
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Course: Beverage/Drink/Breakfast, Main Course, Main Meal
Cuisine: American and Itanlian
Keyword: homemade, skillet meal, spaghetti and meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 5 2-meatball servings
Author: Laura Franco



  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 lb. ground Italian sausage
  • 2 tbsp grated onion
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp fresh chopped parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp black pepper
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil


  • 1 23 oz. jar store-bought marinara sauce
  • 1 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 16 oz. box of Ditalini pasta
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese



  • Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
  • Using your hands, gently fold the ingredients together being careful not to over-mix.
  • Form the mix into large-sized meatballs.
  • You should get 10-12 meatballs.
  • Heat olive oil on medium-high in a large ovenproof skillet for 2-3 minutes.
  • Working in small batches, brown meatballs on all sides.
  • Set meatballs aside on a plate after they are browned.


  • In the same skillet, add the marinara sauce, crushed tomatoes, red wine, and water.
  • Cook on medium-high heat until the mixture boils.
  • While the sauce is cooking, mix the ricotta cheese and parmesan cheese and set it aside.
  • Once the sauce boils, stir the dry pasta into the sauce mix.
  • Nestle the meatballs back in the skillet.
  • Add spoonfuls of the ricotta cheese mix between the meatballs. with fresh basil and serve.
  • Cover and bake for 35 minutes at 400°.
  • After 35 minutes, uncover the skillet, cover the dish with shredded mozzarella cheese and bake for another 5-7 minutes, until the cheese is melted.
  • Garnish with fresh basil.


  • The secret to a tender meatball is to use your hands to gently mix without over mixing the ingredients. The best way to do this is to use a folding method to gently fold the ingredients over each other until they come together.
  • In a hurry? No problem! Use frozen meatballs. Although they may not be as large as homemade, you will cut out the time it takes to mix and brown them.
  • I recommend using sturdy pasta noodles like ditalini, elbow macaroni, or ziti.
  • Leftovers should be stored in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.