Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole
What is the Origin of Pasta (Spaghetti)?
Pasta originated “way back when” in Italy, right? I mean, that’s what everyone thinks.
But wait a minute. There appears to be some discrepancies!
Ancient Greek history suggests findings of pasta when the Greek God Vulcan invented a device to create long strings of dough.
Some believe there is documentation that the Chinese have been making pasta since 3000 B.C.
Around the 12th century, southern Italy was populated with Arabs (Saracens) who are believed to have developed the first pasta using grain and shaping it into a thin, long shape that could be dried out and stored for later use.
Many believe the 13th century story when Marco Polo returned from China, that he brought spaghetti noodles back to Italy. But others maintain that Polo’s manuscript was an inaccurate Latin translation. And numerous people agree that pasta had existed in Europe for many centuries prior.
In the late 1780’s, after serving as the Ambassador to France, Thomas Jefferson is credited for enjoying pasta so much that he requested a pasta-making machine be ordered and sent back to the U.S. I don’t think anyone disputes the fact that the U.S. did not invent pasta.
Yet, as you can see, there are some discrepancies. But I believe we all can agree that today, pasta is typically associated with Italy as an Italian cuisine. I’m sure we can also agree that pasta is an extremely versatile household staple.
The following recipe for Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole is a fun dish that any pasta lover will enjoy.
Ingredients for Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- 12 or 16 ounces of spaghetti (either size box will work, I use 16 oz. Barilla “cut” spaghetti)
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
- 8 ounces pork sausage (I use 1/2 roll of Bob Evans original)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 4 cups spaghetti sauce (your choice)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 16 ounces Ricotta cheese (tub I used was 15 oz. which is fine)
- 3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole: Layers
This delicious recipe will be layered similar to lasagna. It tastes like lasagna too, just a fun, unique texture.
The simple layers will be as follows:
Layer 1 (bottom): Pasta mixture
Layer 2: Ricotta cheese
Layer 3: Meat/sauce mixture
Layer 4 (top): Mozzarella cheese
Feel free to split everything in half and double the layers if you wish.
Instructions for Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Break pasta into pieces about 2 inches long. I use Barilla “cut” spaghetti which is a perfect length for this recipe. Cook pasta “al dente” according to package directions. Drain well.
- In a large skillet over medium high heat, brown ground beef and pork sausage with the chopped onion and minced garlic. Drain grease if necessary.
- Add spaghetti sauce and oregano to the meat mixture. Mix well.
- Combine cooked pasta, softened butter, Parmesan cheese, beaten egg and salt together. Mix well.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Lightly spray a 9 X 13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Spoon pasta mixture into dish and spread evenly.
- Spread Ricotta cheese over the pasta mixture as evenly as possible.
- Spoon or ladle the meat and sauce mixture over the Ricotta cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes on middle rack in oven.
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Bake for 10 more minutes until cheese begins to turn brown.
- Remove from oven and let cool for about 10 minutes before cutting.
Below, you will find photos with instructions to guide you through the recipe.
Brown ground beef, pork sausage, onions and garlic.
Add spaghetti sauce and oregano.
Combine cooked pasta, butter, Parmesan cheese, egg and salt; spread into baking dish.
Spread Ricotta cheese as evenly as possible over pasta.
Spread meat mixture over Ricotta cheese and pasta; bake for 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and top with Mozzarella Cheese; bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove from oven; cool about 10 minutes, then cut and enjoy!
What About Making Your Own Homemade Pasta?
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Possible Variations to the Cheesy Baked Spaghetti Casserole Recipe
- Use other types or shapes (small) of pasta.
- Use cottage cheese in place of Ricotta cheese.
- Eliminate pork sausage; add another 1/2 pound of ground beef if desired.
- Use ground turkey or chicken in place of the other meats.
- Add diced green pepper and/or mushrooms to the meat mixture.
As I always say with my recipes, "be creative."
I tend to have a difficult time following recipes to the "T." For some reason, I feel like I have to alter a recipe in some way; I believe it's the creative side of me. Therefore, I like for others to be able to make changes using their own creativity as well. Enjoy!
This is Sharyn's Slant