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August 9, 2012

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatball Casserole

While in New York we some how managed to catch the Pioneer Woman's Food Network show while getting ready on Saturday morning.  She was cooking Spaghetti and Chicken Casserole, which I had never heard of until then.  My room mates had their own family recipe for it and after quizzing them a bit, I decided I would come up with a modified version and cook it as soon as I got home.  I was inspired...and hungry.

Spaghetti and Turkey Meatball Casserole is what I came up with and this is how it all went down Tuesday night...


















Cook the spaghetti according to the package.  I used whole grain spaghetti.  Drain and place back in the pot.  Mix together 2 eggs and Parmesan cheese and add to the pasta and mix.  Press the spaghetti mixture in the bottom of a greased baking dish and set aside.  {FULL step by step recipe below}

















Mix together remaining egg, ricotta cheese and snipped basil and fresh ground pepper.

















So it ends up looking like this......

















Spread the ricotta mixture over the spaghetti.

















Caramelize your onions in some butter.

















Layer the onions on top of the ricotta and spaghetti and bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.

















Remove from oven and layer about one cup of marinara sauce over the onions.

















Mix thawed turkey meatballs with 3/4 cup marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese.

















Place the meatball mixture over the spaghetti.

















Tent the entire dish with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes.

















Remove from oven and top with more mozzarella, if desired.

















Enjoy!














Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole


Ingredients:

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces packaged dried spaghetti
3 cups thinly sliced sweet onions (2 large)
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 cup ricotta cheese {I used low fat}
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil or 2 teaspoons dried basil, crushed
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 pound frozen cooked Italian meatballs, thawed {I used turkey meatballs}
1 24 - 26 ounce jar purchased tomato and basil pasta sauce or marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
Small fresh basil leaves
Shaved Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Grease a 7 x 11 baking dish.

For pasta ‘crust’, in a small bowl stir together two of the eggs and the grated Parmesan cheese; set aside. In a large saucepan cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; return to saucepan. Add egg mixture, tossing to coat. Press pasta mixture into bottom of prepared baking dish, building up side slightly. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook onions, covered, in hot butter over medium-low heat about 15 minutes or until onions are tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Uncover; increase heat to medium. Cook about 5 minutes more or until onions are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl stir together the remaining egg, the ricotta cheese, the snipped basil, and the pepper. Spread ricotta cheese mixture over pasta crust. Top with caramelized onions. Bake for 15 minutes. Spoon 1 cup of the pasta sauce over layers in pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese.

Toss meatballs with 3/4 cup of the pasta sauce and 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese. Arrange meatball mixture over layers in pan, forming a mound. Top with 1/2 cup of the remaining pasta sauce (reserve remaining pasta sauce and mozzarella cheese).

Tent pie lightly with foil; bake for 45 to 50 minutes more or until heated through. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Let stand, uncovered, on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Using a serrated knife, cut casserole into squares. Garnish with basil leaves and shaved Parmesan cheese before serving. Heat and pass remaining pasta sauce.



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