Swedish Meatball Pasta Bake

This is the kind of comfort food dish that you make on the weekend.

Think Swedish meatballs meets a casserole and that’s what we’ve got going on here today. Nifty, right? I tend to prefer casseroles in the winter time. Maybe it’s because they tend to be heavier and ideal for cold nights. Which means if you’re counting calories then save this recipe for a day when calories don’t count (like the weekend or on vacation 😉 ).

As a heads up, this recipe takes a bit of time to make, which is the real reason why I suggest making this on a weekend. It’s not difficult to make, but there a lot of steps. It took me way longer than I thought it would.

When I made this, it reminded me that I don’t like making meatballs. I find them kind of a pain to make. Does anyone else feel that way? The meatballs in these pictures are a little bigger than what the recipe calls for. I didn’t look at the package of beef that my husband picked up because I assumed it was the amount that I needed. My bad. The meatballs still came out great though.

My husband would have liked more pasta but I think that would ruin the integrity of this dish. I think that the ratio of carbs to sauce/gravy is key to a good casserole and it’s spot on here. Dry casseroles do not make for good eats.

While I did enjoy this meal, it’s not really something that I crave or gravitate towards. Give me a chicken rice soup or zucchini ravioli and I’m a happy camper. My husband ate all of the leftovers by eating it for several days in a row as lunch, so kudos to him for taking one for the team because this recipe made a lot of food.

Swedish Meatball Pasta Bake Recipe
(Makes about 6 servings)

Note: This recipe requires 30 minutes of chilling time.

Ingredients for the Meatballs:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups plain panko bread crumbs
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 pound ground beef (I used 85/15.)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 3 tablespoons oil

Ingredients for the Pasta:

  • 2 cups shell pasta

Ingredients for the Sauce:

  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups beef broth (I used low sodium, equivalent to a 32 ounce box.)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce * (See Note below.)
  • 3 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon salt * (See Note below.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

*Note: My husband likes this recipe as is. However, I prefer less salt and Worcestershire flavor and would reduce these amounts in half. Therefore I recommend that you start with less salt and Worcestershire, taste the sauce, and add more to your liking if needed.

Directions for the Meatballs:

  1. Add the panko bread crumbs to a large bowl and set aside.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter.
  3. Add the finely chopped onion, salt, pepper, allspice, and nutmeg and cook for about 5 minutes. Stir often.
  4. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Turn the heat down to low/medium, and add the milk. Stir everything together and bring it to a simmer.
  6. Once the onion mixture has come to a simmer, pour it from the pan into the bowl of panko bread crumbs and stir everything together. The mixture will be very thick. Set this bowl aside to cool.
  7. In a separate extra large bowl, add the eggs and beat them.
  8. Then add the ground beef, ground pork, and cooled onion mixture. Mix everything together. (It’s gross, but it’s easiest and quickest to do using your hands.)
  9. Form about 30 balls and then chill them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  10. Once the meatballs are done chilling, in a large skillet over medium heat, heat up the oil.
  11. Add the meatballs to the skillet in batches and cook them until they are browned on all sides, about 15 minutes. Batches made it so the pan wasn’t over crowded which made flipping them and seeing when they were done easier.
  12. Transfer the meatballs to a dish and set them aside.

Directions for the Pasta:

  1. Cook the pasta al dente according to the directions on the box, drain it and add it to a 9 x 13 oven safe baking dish.

Directions for the Sauce and Assembly:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (This is not part of the sauce steps but you’ll want the oven preheated by the time you are done with these steps.)
  2. Place the meatballs into the baking dish, nestling them into the pasta.
  3. In a large skillet on medium heat, melt the butter.
  4. Add the flour, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in the beef broth, water, Worcestershire, salt and pepper and bring it to a simmer. Stir often.
  6. Reduce the heat to low/medium, and add the parsley and heavy cream. Stir everything together constantly and cook it until it thickens, about 10 minutes.
  7. Carefully pour the sauce over the meatballs and pasta.
  8. Bake the Swedish meatballs, pasta, and sauce in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.

Slightly adapted from: The Beach House Kitchen

Comments

  1. sretko tomic says:

    In full description, I like your Swedish Pasta Tina.

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you!

  2. Victoria Cooke says:

    This looks delicious! I can’t wait to make this.

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you!

  3. Heather says:

    This was delicious! I used 1 1/2 tsp of salt; even that was a bit too much. I think I will completely omit the salt the next time I make iT. We love Worcestershire, so I kept that as a 1 Tbsp. This will definitely be a regular in our house from now on. Thank you!

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Heather! I’m glad that you took my suggestion to start little with the salt (even if you’ll less or none next time). It’s funny how everyone’s tastes are different, as even my husband and I had different opinions on how much was the perfect amount. Thank you for stopping by!

  4. Robert says:

    Didn’t see where you add the parsley.

    1. Tina says:

      Hi Robert. Thanks for pointing out my miss! I fixed it. It’s step 6 of making the gravy.

  5. Rebecca says:

    Made this for my son and I. Spend 3 hours preparing this, was so looking forward to trying it when it was done and well it was so nasty I ended up throwing it all away.

  6. Kris says:

    Absolutely will try this dish soon. We love Swedish meatballs, and I love a good casserole! Being an avid grilled and smoker, I had a busy weekend a while back and opted to toss a pan of meatballs on the smoker as I had so much cooking to do outside anyway…hand over fist, smoked meatballs turned out better than I could have imagined and offered up a flavour profile that was over-the-top amazing. So for anyone whom also smokes meats?? Next time you fire up the smoker? Add a batch of these meatballs. (I smoked them on a foil wrapped pan, and they were smoked only, not cooked. I then chilled and froze them and bagged them until days later when I cooked them for the recipe). Truly amazing tho, and Fam has voted we shall never just pan cook meatballs again! (Even for spaghetti lol!!!) 👍🏻☺️

  7. Kris says:

    I look forward to trying this, but plan to smoke the meatballs first (adds a depth of flavour soooooo good!!) thank you for sharing what sounds like a great recipe! Love Swedish meatballs and absolutely love a good casseroule!!

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you for stopping by!

  8. Lauren says:

    Tastes good but yes, definitely a recipe that takes way too long. Took me about 2.5 hours from start to finish to make. I have a toddler and a 4 month old, I don’t have that time to spend cooking lol.
    Also, we ended up needing to cook it in the oven for 45 min at the end because the inside of the meatballs were still pink after 30 min.

    1. Tina says:

      Lol… that’s why I gave my readers the heads up that this recipe takes time. When I was in the middle of making it I told my husband, “If I had known that it was going to take this long I may not have tried it but I’m in it to win it now.”

  9. Lindsey says:

    These meatballs are excellent, truly delicious. Following the recipe exactly for the sauce, to me it seems something is missing, not bad, just not great. BUT, my whole crewoved it including my 2 extremely picky eaters. All in all, I call that a win.

    For those complaining about the amount of time this recipe takes to cook must not have read the instructions all the way through before starting… For someone who cooks on a regular basis, it wasn’t bad at all… Any homemade meatball recipe takes time and the sauce is done in the time it takes the pasta to cook, so, not sure where the problem is.

    Great share. Thank you.

    1. Tina says:

      Thank you!!!

  10. Mary McFadden says:

    I don’t have heavy cream, could I substitute evaporated milk instead

    1. Tina says:

      You can use regular milk (not evaporated milk) instead but it will not be as creamy.

  11. Vickie Stone says:

    Made this tonight. It was delicious! I knew when hubby when back for seconds it was a keeper recipe! I did omit the salt because of other comments but kept the worchestshire at 1 tablespoon. Thanks for the great recipe!

  12. Cathy says:

    I haven’t tried it… but wandering if IKEA frozen meatballs would work instead of making meatballs ( before I get crucified I have arthritis in my hands, I find rolling meatballs tedious and painful)? Any thoughts?

    1. Tina says:

      Cathy, I have not tried that, but I bet it would work.
      If you try the pre-made meatballs, let me know how you make out.

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