One-Pan Pasta and Meatballs

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I am always looking for recipes which I think would work on Boy Scout camping trips. Such recipes should be simple, use a minimum of pans or techniques which would be hard to use while camping, and should be boy-friendly. This concept of cooking pasta and meatballs in one pan was on the cover of a Cook’s Illustrated book on One Pan Dinners. This post is a positive report out of the proof of concept – you can get a decent pasta and meatballs using only one pan. This version was done in a conventional oven. The next step would be to test it in a Dutch oven, since that is how it would be done camping.


12 oz. small pasta or spaghetti broken in half

24-oz. jar marinara sauce

2 cups water

1 lb. 90% lean ground beef

¾ cup panko bread crumbs

1/3 cup prepared basil pesto

Salt and pepper

2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil (optional)

Grated parmesan cheese


Preheat the oven to 475 degrees.


Oil a 13 x 9 baking dish with cooking spray. Put the pasta on the bottom of the pan, add the marinara sauce, and the water, and stir so that the pasta is evenly coated and in an even layer.


Make the meatballs by combining the beef, panko, basil, 1 tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper in a bowl. Mix well. Form into 1 inch meatballs, and put them on top of the pasta in the pan. Seal the pan tightly with aluminum foil, and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, remove the aluminum foil, and stir thoroughly. Return the uncovered pan to the oven for another 5-8 minutes until the pasta is cooked and the sauce is thick. Add some extra water if the sauce seems too thick. When done, allow to cool for a few minutes and serve with basil and parmesan.


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