A white casserole dish with ziti pasta, meatballs and cheese lifted out with a spoon.
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One Pan Meatball Casserole

One Pan Meatball Casserole is an easy, dump it and forget, family favorites.  I've included options for making it in the slow cooker or as a freezer meal!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8
Calories: 335kcal
Author: Lauren Allen

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. package uncooked ziti pasta
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Meatballs , fully cooked, thawed
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella (or Italian blend cheese)
  • Optional: Parmesan cheese and fresh chopped herbs (such as basil , oregano, and parsley for garnish)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In a 9x13 inch baking dish stir together uncooked pasta, marinara sauce, water, milk, spices and meatballs.
  • Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.
  • Uncover; stir. Check the pasta for doneness. We want it to be al dente (firm, but almost perfectly cooked). If it’s still too hard, cover the dish and return to the oven for a few minutes.
  • Sprinkle mozzarella over the top and bake uncovered for 5-10 more minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly.
  • Allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving, to allow the sauce to thicken up.

Notes

Want to make a smaller batch? Cut the recipe in half and bake in an 8’’ or similar size dish.
Make Ahead: This recipe can be assembled completely the night before, but I wouldn’t do it any sooner than that or the noodles may have a mushy texture after baking.
Freezing Instructions: Prepare the recipe up until baking. Cover with a double layer of aluminum foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge before baking, or to bake from froze, baked covered for 1 hour and 30 minutes, and uncovered for 15-20 minutes longer.
Slow Cooker: Prepare as directed, but leave out the milk and add an additional 24 oz jar of marinara sauce. Be sure the ziti noodles are covered with sauce. Cook on HIGH for 2 - 2 1/2 hours, or LOW for 3 1/3 -4 hours or until pasta is tender. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top during the last few minutes of cooking and return the lid to allow the cheese to melt. Optional-place under broiler for a few minutes to toast the cheesy top.
Instant Pot: Here is my very similar recipe for Instant Pot Penne Pasta with Meatballs.

Nutrition

Calories: 335kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 932mg | Potassium: 469mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 607IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 205mg | Iron: 2mg