Baked Spaghetti

baked spaghetti 1_small
This seems like a ridiculous recipe to post in June, no? It’s a comfort food kind of recipe and I should probably save it for winter but it’s so easy and good I just can’t hold on to it.

I made it because I have a dear friend whose mom passed away suddenly and I knew she didn’t have it in her to put one foot in front of the other, much less cook for her four hungry man-boys. I was looking for something hearty and full of flavor and this dish couldn’t have been more perfect. I made a second batch for us and included even more veggies — this dish will accommodate whatever you have in your fridge — mushrooms, chopped peppers, whatever.

This is also something you can make ahead of time and refrigerate for a day or so, then pop in the oven when you’re ready. Yay for make ahead!!!

Baked Spaghetti

Baked Spaghetti

Ingredients

3/4 lb spaghetti (I like the Barilla kind in the yellow box because it has added protein but doesn't taste funny)

1 lb sweet Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

24 ounces marinara sauce

1 1/2 cups water

1 Tbsp Italian seasoning

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp olive oil plus more for greasing the casserole dish

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 cup ricotta cheese

2-3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

Bring water to a boil over high heat. While you're waiting continue with prep below.

Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add sausage, breaking it up into smaller pieces with the a wooden spoon. Cook until the sausage is cooked through, no longer pink anywhere, and lightly browned. Remove the sausage from the pan with a slotted spoon and set aside. Discard fat from pan.

Add the chopped onions to the pan. Increase the heat to medium high. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and red chili pepper flakes, and cook a minute more.

Add the marinara sauce and the 1 1/2 cups of water to the pan with the onions. Add the sausage back to the pan. Add the Italian seasoning and chopped parsley. Bring to a simmer and reduce the heat to a very low simmer on the lowest simmer setting on your stovetop. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or so while you make the pasta.

When your pasta water is boiling, add a tablespoon of salt. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook, uncovered, at a rolling boil, for 5 to 6 minutes, or follow package instructions for al dente. Note that the pasta will continue to cook and absorb some of the sauce when it is in the casserole dish in the oven, so the pasta needs to be al dente. When ready, drain the pasta and rinse in cold water.

Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, then the Parmesan, then 2 beaten eggs. It's easiest to do this with your (clean) hands.

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Rub the inside of a 13x9 inch casserole dish with olive oil. Spread 1 cup of the sauce over the bottom of the casserole dish.

Place half of the pasta in an even layer in the casserole dish. Cover with half of the sauce. Then dot the sauce with all of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle half of the Mozzarella over the ricotta layer. Layer again with the remaining pasta, the remaining sauce, and the remaining Mozzarella.

Cover with foil and bake for 40 min at 350°F. Remove the foil and bake an additional 20 minutes uncovered. Remove from oven and let rest for at least 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.

Serves 8 to 10.

Adapted from Simply Recipes.

http://sugarmamacooks.com/baked-spaghetti/

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