Chef John Folse's Baked Spaghetti Surprise

Prep Time: 1 1/2 Hours
Yields: 6 Servings

The "surprise" of meatballs in this traditional baked spaghetti recipe, turns it from a side dish into a complete meal. You can prepare the meatballs in advance, making it a quick and easy after work dinner.

Ingredients for Meatballs:
1 pound ground chuck
1 pound ground pork
6 eggs
1 cup minced onions
1 cup minced celery
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup chopped basil
1 3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsps salt
2 tbsps black pepper

In a large mixing bowl, combine beef and pork. Using your hands, blend meat well. Add eggs, onions, celery, garlic, basil, breadcrumbs and cheese. Continue to blend, then season with salt and pepper. Fry a small patty of meat mixture in a sprinkle of extra virgin olive oil to test seasoning. Adjust seasonings if necessary. Roll meatballs to desired size (about the size of a Swedish meatball). Place on a cookie sheet, cover and refrigerate at least an hour. Preheat oven to 350º F. Bake for about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Ingredients for baked spaghetti:
1 (8 oz.) package spaghetti or macaroni
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tbsps chopped parsley
1 tbsps sliced pimiento
1 tbsps minced onion
1/8 tsp paprika
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste

Cook pasta according to package directions and drain. Preheat oven to 350º F. Spray a 13"x9" inch baking dish with baking spray. Arrange meatballs in bottom of dish. Layer one half of spaghetti on top of meatballs and sprinkle with half the cheese. Make another layer with the remaining pasta and cheese. In a medium size bowl combine the eggs, milk, parsley, pimiento, onion and seasonings. Beat until blended. Pour mixture over spaghetti and bake about 45 minutes.