Italian meatball and bread bake

    1 hour 15 min

    This is a hearty, all-in-one dish that's easy to make. Cubed ciabatta is baked with beef meatballs and mozzarella in a rich, tomato sauce.

    609 people made this

    Makes: 5 - 7 servings

    • 35g chopped spring onions
    • 4 tablespoons Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
    • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    • 450g minced beef
    • 450g ciabatta bread, cut into 2.5cm cubes
    • 225g cream cheese, softened
    • 125ml mayonnaise
    • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
    • 225g grated mozzarella cheese
    • 750g tomato based pasta sauce
    • 250ml water
    • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:45min  ›  Ready in:1hr15min 

    1. Preheat oven to 200 C / Gas 6.
    2. Mix together onions, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese and minced beef. Roll into 2.5cm diameter balls and place on a baking tray. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until beef is no longer pink. Reduce the oven temperature to 180 C / Gas 4.
    3. Arrange the bread cubes in a single layer on an ungreased 20x30cm baking dish. Mix together the cream cheese, mayonnaise, dried Italian herbs and black pepper until smooth. Spread this mixture over each bread cube. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the grated mozzarella cheese.
    4. In a large bowl, mix together pasta sauce, water and garlic. Gently stir in meatballs. Pour over the bread and cheese mixture in the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese evenly over the top.
    5. Bake at 180 C / Gas 4 for 30 minutes or until heated through.

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    Reviews in English (504)


    I know some hate when others post reviews that tell all about what they did differently, but I figure...hey, many people have made this & found it to be why not tell what I did...maybe it will inspire you!!! 1.) I made my meatballs out of ground chicken! They only need 15 mins. at 400..just be sure to lightly spray your sheet with cooking spray! I also combined the minced garlic in with my chickenballs.... 2.) As another reviewer suggested...I omitted the mayo & replaced it with ricotta...did I mention that the ricotta/cream cheese mixture was good enough to spread on my body?!?! 3.)Probably the biggest change I made was how I used the bread....I bought the roundish italian loaf, did my best Subway sandwhich artist impression, and removed the top portion. I then removed most (but not all) the fluffy bread guts to make a bowl (and tossed the guts). I smeared the cream/ricotta cheese mixture on the bottom & sides of the bowl, and added some to the underside of the breadbowl lid. (This way b/c I thought spreading each breadcube with the mixture sounded too time consuming...and half the breadcubes prolly would of ended up popped in my mouth!!!) I then layered the cheese & chicken balls, baked 25 minutes WITHOUT the breadbowl lid, and about 5-10 with the breadbowl lid in serve, just "boys" (my fiance & his best friend) raved over this for at least an hour....and they are food snobs!!!!  -  08 Jan 2007  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    This was possibly the most amazing thing I've ever made! I put my whole loaf of bread in the pan and stuck it in the oven while it preheated to toast it because I knew I wouldn't like it if it was soggy. I bought 1 and a half pounds of fresh meatballs instead of making my own to save time and I sliced my bread into 7 slices instead of cubing it so it would be easier to fit in the pan and easier to spread the cream cheese mix over. I microwaved the cream cheese stuff for about 30 seconds to make it more spreadable. I skipped the water to avoid soggy bread but added an extra cup of spaghetti sauce since I had more than a pound of meatballs. The result was so delicious I thought about it all the next day. My bread wasn't soggy and there were enough meatballs and sauce to make every bite loaded. My boyfriend didn't like the mayonnaise taste so next time I'll use less of that but I highly recommend this recipe to anyone who enjoys meatball sandwiches.  -  21 Dec 2001  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)


    With some tweaks, this was pretty darn good. I couldn't imagine mayonnaise combined with the other Italian ingredients, so I used ricotta cheese in place of the mayo. I made sure the bread was day-old and crusty so it would not get soggy. Even the next day, the bread was fine. And I didn't use any water with the spaghetti sauce, just sauce and garlic. This was a hearty, stick-to-your-ribs type casserole - perfect for cold winter nights.  -  07 Dec 2006  (Review from Allrecipes US | Canada)