|image via dreamtime.com|
Other spaghetti casseroles I looked at were too much like the baked ziti I make; I don't use ricotta in my baked ziti so it's really more like baked Mostaccioli, but layered.
This casserole has a unique taste and even the kids ate heartily (okay...well...the five year old was underwhelmed, but otherwise it was a good night. She comes around eventually.)
Source for original recipe is spendwithpennies.com. It's a recipe site I highly recommend for families.
Ingredients for meatballs (Optional-- you could just use your own meat sauce)
1 lb lean ground beef (I use 93/7 lean ground turkey)
1/3 cup bread crumbs
1 T. milk
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/4 cup onion, finely chopped
2 T. fresh chopped parsley
Directions for meatballs:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all meatball ingredients and form into 1 inch balls. Place on a foil lined pan and bake 18 - 20 minutes. Remove meatballs from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.
Ingredients for casserole:
12 oz. package thin spaghetti
1 T. olive oil
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, (reserving 1 1/2 cups for casserole topping; 1/2 cup needed for casserole mixture)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (reserving 1/4 cup for casserole topping; 1/4 cup needed for casserole mixture)
1 large egg slightly beaten
2 T. fresh parsley
28 oz. pasta sauce (or more to taste; I used a cup more)
Directions for casserole:
Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain and toss with olive oil. In another bowl stir together egg, parsley, pepper, 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and pepper. Toss with the pasta and place in sprayed casserole dish.
Yes, at this point it will look dry and unappetizing, but trust me--it turns out tasty. :)
Top with meatballs and pasta sauce. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes. Remove foil, top with remaining cheeses (1 1/2 cups mozzarella and 1/4 cup Parmesan), and continue to bake until cheese is melted and browned.
Do you have a baked spaghetti casserole already in your repertoire? What do you love about it? How does it differ?