Baked SpaghettiPosted: July 23, 2012
For reasons that remain a mystery to me, I didn’t really get the casserole idea while my kids were growing up. Yes, I made a few, but they were irregular rather than a staple, and I don’t know why I didn’t realize these could be my saving grace. I mean we are talking about a foodstuff that by its very definition rarely involves multiple dishes and often involves cheese (a child-friendly foodstuff if ever there was one), and can be plopped on the table with minimal fuss. Why didn’t I make these at least 3 nights every week? Why did I make my life so hard?
That’s the stuff for therapy, my friends. In the meantime, I was drawn to this recipe by Bobby Deen in a recent Food Network Magazine. I changed a few things but I can tell you right now, if I had found this recipe 15 years ago, my family dinner life would have gone a lot more smoothly.
6 ounces angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound Italian chicken sausage
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon basil
1 28-0unce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup chopped basil leaves
12 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until done. Drain.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, until soft, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook about 2 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the pepper and seasoning and cook, stirring frequently, until the veggies are solf. Add the tomatoes and basil and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the sauce thickens a little and the flavors are blended, about 15 minutes.
Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray. Add the pasta to the skillet and toss to combine with the sauce. Spoon half of the pasta mixture into the casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of each cheese. Spoon the remaining pasta mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and cover loosely with foil sprayed with cooking spray. Bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly, about 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.