Baked spaghetti! It's like lasagna in taste and ingredients and ability to feed a crowd, but a whole lot easier in the assembling/eating department.
Like lasagna, baked spaghetti is a layered casserole-type dish. You start with cooked spaghetti noodles mixed with parmesan and egg and butter, some doctored-up spaghetti sauce, ricotta cheese, and a whole lot of shredded mozzarella.
Then layer your noodles in a casserole, schmear ricotta on top, spoon sauce on top of that, sprinkle with shredded cheese, and repeat until your dish is filled to the brim with buttery, cheesy, sauce-slathered noodles.
Put that (very heavy) casserole in the oven until it is nice and toasty and bubbly and your noodles start to crisp around the edges.
Those crisped-around-the-edges noodles are what my dreams are made of.
Aside from feeling like a classic homemade meal that's easy to make ahead and good for feeding lots of people, my favorite thing about baked spaghetti is that it produces lots of noodle clumps.
Don't tell your Italian grandmother, but I LOVE clumps of noodles. So satisfying to bite into. And if ever you've ordered some variety of long noodle on a first date thinking it would be romantic a la Lady and the Tramp, and have ended up looking more like Will Ferrel in Elf stuffing his face with syrup-covered noodles, you know that long noodles can be one of the less dignified things to eat. Not the case with baked spaghetti. You can cut this with your fork eat in a totally civilized manner.
So go right ahead and enjoy this on a first date.
Also good for: potlucks, taking to someone who just had a baby, large gatherings, weeks you need lots of leftovers, making double and freezing the extra, satisfying a lasagna craving in the easiest way!
- 16 ounces uncooked spaghetti
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 (24 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup shredded parmesan
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 cups whole milk ricotta
- 4 cups shredded mozzarella
Cook spaghetti according to package directions and drain.
Cook beef, onion, and garlic in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in spaghetti sauce and salt.
Whisk eggs, parmesan, and melted butter together in a large bowl. Add cooked noodles and toss to coat.
Place half the noodles in a greased 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Top with half the ricotta, half the sauce, and half the mozzarella. Repeat layers.
Cover loosely with foil and bake in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking an additional 20 minutes.
Adapted from Taste of Home.