Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole
Gluten Free Living – 2016
Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole combines the best of Spaghetti and Meatballs with a layer of cheese in casserole form that’s wonderful. I started with gluten free spaghetti. After cooking it and adding butter I layered it in a large casserole dish.
Meanwhile, I made a homemade marinara sauce and added meatballs that actually cooked in the sauce rather than frying or baking them. After the sauce and meatballs were cooked I spooned them over the spaghetti noodles and topped with mozzarella cheese before baking. It was mouthwatering to say the least.
Every year for John’s birthday I make an Italian dish (usually manicotti), Greek Salad and his favorite Cheesecake. I usually make these favorite recipes since his birthday is so close to Christmas and we don’t want to overdo it on Turkey, Ham or anything else.
I ended up making two of these Spaghetti and Meatball Casseroles and served one for John’s birthday and the second one I put in the freezer. I pulled it out about two to three weeks later for a spaghetti potluck at our church and put a note on it that it was gluten free. Wow did I have a lot of takers! The whole dish was cleaned out before I collected it to take it home.
Many of you probably wonder why I make so many gluten free recipes. I don’t have Celiac Disease, nor do I really have what many would call gluten intolerance. In other words, I don’t have digestive issues from eating wheat or other products with gluten. So why do I try to eliminate gluten and sugar from my regular diet as much as possible?
Two reasons. While these are not specifically scientific answers (even though there are studies that also talk about these issues), after a lot of evaluation these are the conclusions I’ve come to. First, if I eat sugar or gluten during the day, I can’t sleep at night. No kidding.
I may as well drink a six-pack of Red Bull before I go to bed because I’m wired all night long. It’s awful. If I’m lucky I will sleep about every third night because by then my body is exhausted, but the sleep is never all that great.
Second, I can feel inflammation in my joints and my whole body just feels sore and achy. I explain it this way, I feel like someone with a body twenty years older if I eat gluten and sugar, and I feel like someone with a body twenty years younger if I abstain from gluten and sugar. The difference is between night and day in how I feel. So that’s my explanation. If anyone else is helped by my story it’s worth sharing it.
If you’re looking for a delectable Italian dish to make for special occasions–or not–Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole is quite yummy. I’m a meatball lover and these are quite good. The ease of cooking the meatballs in the sauce is wonderful.
I do recommend that you use the highest quality beef (93% or 96% lean) otherwise there will be too much grease when the meatballs cook through. Whether you use gluten free noodles and bread crumbs or regular wheat-based products, either way will turn out a superb casserole. I have found that
Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole is one of the most delicious Italian entrees you’ll ever taste!
This is one of the most scrumptious casseroles you’ll ever eat.
Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole is made with gluten free bread crumbs and gluten free spaghetti noodles, but you can use regular bread crumbs and pasta if you desire.
Here’s what I did.
I used these ingredients for the marinara sauce.
Heat a Dutch oven to medium heat. Add olive oil, onions and garlic and saute 3-5 minutes. Add celery, carrots, bell pepper and mushrooms and saute about 10 minutes until veggies are tender. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer.
I used these ingredients for the meatballs. 4C now makes gluten free bread crumbs so the meatballs as well as the pasta were gluten free.
Combine meatball ingredients with your hands. Form into balls.
Add meatballs to marinara sauce. Cover with lid and cook until meatballs are done about 45 minutes. You must use a 93%-96% lean beef for this recipe or the meatballs will produce too much grease when they simmer in the sauce.
I used these ingredients for the noodle layer and topping.
Cook gluten free noodles about 2-3 minutes in boiling water. Turn off heat and allow pasta to sit in hot water about 10-12 minutes to finish cooking. Drain. Add butter and stir to combine. Spray a 10×15″ glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread noodles into dish.
Top spaghetti with meatball sauce.
Top with mozzarella cheese and bake about 10-15 minutes or until casserole is bubbly.
I added quite a few herbs and seasonings to the sauce and meatballs because gluten free noodles are blander than wheat noodles and need the boost of flavor.
Here’s the recipe.
SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALL CASSEROLE
(My own concoction)
- [b]MARINARA SAUCE:[/b][br]
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- ¾ tsp. minced garlic from a jar or about 3-4 cloves fresh garlic minced
- 1 carrot, peeled and diced
- 1 rib celery, diced
- ½ green bell pepper, diced
- 8-oz. sliced fresh mushrooms
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp. oregano
- 1 tsp. basil
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- ¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
- ½ tsp. salt, or to taste
- ½ tsp. black pepper, or to taste
- ½ tsp. sugar
- 2 28-oz. cans Muir Glen Organic fire roasted crushed tomatoes in puree
- 3 tbsp. tomato paste[br]
- 1 ½-2 lbs. 93% lean beef (you can use a mixture of ground beef, pork and veal)
- 1 large egg, slightly beaten
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 cup 4C gluten free Italian style breadcrumbs
- 2 tsp. minced garlic from a jar, or about 5-6 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon Lawry’s seasoned salt
- 1 tsp. fresh ground black pepper (or to taste)
- 1/3 cup milk (can use up to 1/2 cup milk)
- 2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. dried basil
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (or 2 tablespoons dried parsley)
- 1 tsp. fennel seed
- 1 tsp. thyme[br]
- 16-oz. pkg. gluten free spaghetti noodles
- 8-oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp. melted butter (either salted or unsalted is okay)
- In a large Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat add olive oil and heat through.
- Add onion and garlic and sauté about 3-5 minutes or until onion is translucent.
- Add carrots, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms and continue sautéing until veggies are tender, about 10 minutes.
- Add remaining ingredients and bring to a simmer.
- Add meatballs; cover and simmer for about 40 minutes.
- Remove bay leaves.
- Check seasoning.
- Add additional salt, pepper or seasonings, as desired. [br]
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Shape into small meatballs.
- Drop the meatballs into simmering marinara sauce.
- Cover with lid and do not stir for at least 20 minutes or the meatballs will break apart.
- Continue cooking in the simmering sauce for another 20 minutes or until done.
- If desired, you can cook the sauce a little longer to meld the flavors. [br]
- Add spaghetti to boiling water and cook about 2-3 minutes at a rapid boil.
- Remove from heat.
- Allow noodles to sit in hot water about 5-7 minutes longer or until cooked through.
- Stir in 2 tbsp. melted butter.
- Grease a 10×15” glass baking dish.
- Add buttered spaghetti and spread into prepared dish.
- Spoon Marinara Sauce with Meatballs over top of spaghetti.
- Sprinkle cheese over top.
- Bake in a preheated 350° oven for about 10-15 minutes or until casserole is hot and bubbly and cheese has melted.
This is a great way to enjoy Spaghetti and Meatballs!
We had this delicious Spaghetti and Meatball Casserole for my husband’s birthday and everyone loved it.
You will love this ooey, gooey, cheesy pasta dish.