Cheesy Beef Meatball Bake with Gnocchi & Spinach
Craft

Cheesy Beef Meatball Bake

with Gnocchi & Spinach

50 MIN
$14.99/serving 2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

TECHNIQUE TO HIGHLIGHT
If your oven has a broiler—a section of the oven that provides direct, intense heat—we’ve provided instructions to use it at the very end of baking, allowing the layer of mozzarella (on top of the juicy meatball and pillowy gnocchi bake) to turn deliciously bubbly and golden brown.
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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    1270 Cals (est.)
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fresh
ingredients
Cheesy Beef Meatball Bake with Gnocchi & Spinach
Title
  • 12 oz Usda Prime Ground Beef
  • ¾ lb Gnocchi
  • 1 Small Baguette
  • 1 14.5-Oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 3 oz Baby Spinach
  • 2 oz Arugula
  • 2 cloves Garlic
  • 4 oz Fresh Mozzarella Cheese
  • ¼ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Shallot
  • 1 oz Sliced Roasted Red Peppers
  • 2 Tbsps Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 oz Garlic & Herb Spreadable Butter
  • 1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning (Whole Dried Basil, Sage, Oregano, Savory, Rosemary, Thyme & Marjoram)
  • 1 Persian Cucumbers
time-saving
tips & techniques
Prepare the ingredients
1 Prepare the ingredients

Remove the spreadable butter from the refrigerator to soften. Arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Halve the baguette lengthwise. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Roughly chop the peppers.

Form & bake the meatballs
2 Form & bake the meatballs

In a large bowl, combine the beef, breadcrumbs, and half the Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 10 tightly packed meatballs. Transfer to a large baking dish. Place on the upper oven rack and bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.* Leaving the oven on, remove from the oven. Carefully drain off and discard any excess oil from the baking dish. 

*The USDA recommends a minimum safe cooking temperature of 160°F for beef.

Cook the gnocchi & make the sauce
3 Cook the gnocchi & make the sauce

Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the gnocchi; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Add the sliced shallot, chopped garlic, spinach, and remaining Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Add the tomatoes (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/4 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

Assemble the casserole
4 Assemble the casserole

To the baking dish of baked meatballs, carefully add the cooked gnocchi and sauce. Gently stir to combine. Evenly top with the mozzarella (tearing into small pieces before adding).

Bake the casserole & garlic bread
5 Bake the casserole & garlic bread
  • Line a sheet pan with foil. Place the halved baguette on the foil, cut side up. Evenly spread the softened butter onto the cut sides of the baguette. Place the garlic bread on the lower oven rack and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board. Place the casserole on the upper oven rack and bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. If desired, turn your oven to the broil function; broil the casserole 2 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown (watching carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from the oven. Let stand at least 2 minutes before serving.
Make the salad & serve your dish
6 Make the salad & serve your dish

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sliced cucumber, chopped peppers, vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Just before serving, add the arugula; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Halve the garlic bread crosswise. Serve the baked casserole with the salad and finished garlic bread on the side. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Prepare the ingredients
1 Prepare the ingredients

Remove the spreadable butter from the refrigerator to soften. Arrange two oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 450°F. Wash and dry the fresh produce. Peel and thinly slice the shallot. Peel and roughly chop 2 cloves of garlic. Halve the baguette lengthwise. Halve the cucumber lengthwise, then thinly slice crosswise. Roughly chop the peppers.

2 Form & bake the meatballs

In a large bowl, combine the beef, breadcrumbs, and half the Italian seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until combined. Using your hands, shape the mixture into 10 tightly packed meatballs. Transfer to a large baking dish. Place on the upper oven rack and bake 14 to 16 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.* Leaving the oven on, remove from the oven. Carefully drain off and discard any excess oil from the baking dish. 

*The USDA recommends a minimum safe cooking temperature of 160°F for beef.

Form & bake the meatballs
Cook the gnocchi & make the sauce
3 Cook the gnocchi & make the sauce

Meanwhile, in a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the gnocchi; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned and cooked through. Add the sliced shallot, chopped garlic, spinach, and remaining Italian seasoning; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Add the tomatoes (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and 1/4 cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes, or until the sauce is slightly thickened. Turn off the heat. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired.

4 Assemble the casserole

To the baking dish of baked meatballs, carefully add the cooked gnocchi and sauce. Gently stir to combine. Evenly top with the mozzarella (tearing into small pieces before adding).

Assemble the casserole
Bake the casserole & garlic bread
5 Bake the casserole & garlic bread
  • Line a sheet pan with foil. Place the halved baguette on the foil, cut side up. Evenly spread the softened butter onto the cut sides of the baguette. Place the garlic bread on the lower oven rack and bake 6 to 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. Transfer to a cutting board. Place the casserole on the upper oven rack and bake 7 to 9 minutes, or until the cheese is melted. If desired, turn your oven to the broil function; broil the casserole 2 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown (watching carefully so it doesn’t burn). Remove from the oven. Let stand at least 2 minutes before serving.
6 Make the salad & serve your dish

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the sliced cucumber, chopped peppers, vinegar, and a drizzle of olive oil. Just before serving, add the arugula; season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine. Taste, then season with salt and pepper if desired. Halve the garlic bread crosswise. Serve the baked casserole with the salad and finished garlic bread on the side. Enjoy!

Make the salad & serve your dish
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