When my Mom cooked spaghetti, she always dumped the entire one-pound box of dry strands into the pot. Always. It did not matter if she was cooking for five people or one. I used to tease her, telling her, “Mom, spaghetti won’t spoil once the box is open if you don’t cook it all right away!” She would give me a “mind your own business” backwards glance — then dump the entire box into the pot of boiling water. Needless to say, there was often left-over spaghetti in our refrigerator after the initial spaghetti dinner.
Confession time — when the kitchen became my domain, I did exactly the same as Mom; cooked the entire box. Each and every time. I enjoyed left over spaghetti, sometimes just reheating it with some olive oil, Parmesan cheese, a sprinkle of salt, and a few grinds of fresh black pepper. It was never a disaster in my house if the sauce ran out before the cooked spaghetti did.
That is until recently. Illness and dietary restrictions mean pasta is not as prevalent on the supper table as in decades past and I have learned to “guess-timate” pasta servings fairly well. Now, I intentionally cook only enough for one supper then, if in the mood, some extra for this spaghetti pie a few nights down the road.
As with all leftovers, I often find myself looking for something to elevate them to a higher interest level. Enter this super easy Spaghetti Pie. Remember, the emphasis is on “super easy”, so I never make it more complicated than necessary. This dish is on my repertoire for the several weeks pre-holiday season as I gear up for holiday cooking and baking. It provides a hot, satisfying meal with not much effort and is a true family pleaser.
You can find versions of this recipe which call for making a meat sauce that tops the pie from scratch with onions, peppers, tomato sauce and seasonings, then simmering it for 30 minutes. Nope, not me. Remember “super easy”; I use my favorite jarred marinara sauce which can always be found in my pantry for ease of prep with casseroles like this. If you prefer to use your own homemade marinara, go for it, the recipe calls for “your favorite marinara sauce”.
This recipe also calls for grated Parmesan cheese. For goodness sake, either buy a chunk of Parm and grate your own or get a good quality grated version from the market that does not include “anti-caking” ingredients. You want to taste the cheese, not something that resembles sawdust. While we’re at it, stay far away from that stuff in a can on the shelf at the grocery store…that is not “good quality Parmesan cheese”.
For my ricotta, I prefer a ricotta in which the ingredients are milk, vinegar, and salt, no stabilizers or thickeners. Several brands make this style of ricotta, and any Italian market should carry it I like its creaminess, how it acts when heated, and I think it is tops in flavor. Trust me, using good cheese is always worth it!
I use my favorite 10 inch ceramic pie plate for this recipe. When forming the “crust”, I push some of the spaghetti/egg/cheese mixture up the sides leaving a shallow well in the middle which receives the ricotta then gets topped with the meat/sauce mixture. I leave the very edge uncovered by toppings because I like the “crispy” edge the pasta gets while baking.
This pie cuts best when allowed to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Leftovers can be lightly reheated in the microwave. Makes 4 to 6 servings, depending on how hungry you are!
Super Easy Spaghetti PieCourse: EntreesCuisine: Coal Region, Italian AmericanDifficulty: Easy
An east-to-assemble, filling casserole your family will love.
6 ounces dry spaghetti, cooked and slightly cooled OR about 3 1/2 well-packed cups leftover cooked spaghetti
1/2 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage (bulk or casings removed)
2 Tablespoons. olive oil
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup finely grated good quality Parmesan cheese
3/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- In a frying pan, crumble and brown the sausage. Drain excess fat if desired. Stir in 1 cup marinara sauce. Simmer 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Toss spaghetti with olive oil in large bowl. Stir in beaten eggs, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, parsley, and black pepper,. Toss thoroughly. Pour spaghetti mixture into buttered 10-inch pie plate; form into a crust across bottom and up sides of plate
- Spoon ricotta cheese over spaghetti crust.
- Top with the sausage and pasta sauce mixture spreading the sauce nearly to the edges of the “crust”.
- Bake in preheated 350°F oven 30 minutes. Top with half of the Mozzarella cheese. Bake 5 minutes more or until cheese is just melted.
- Cool 10 – 15 minutes before cutting.
- Use your own homemade marinara sauce in this recipe or your favorite jarred sauce.
DID YOU MAKE THIS?
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Lori Fogg, A Coalcracker In The Kitchen
Sharing coal region comfort foods and nostalgia
Born and raised “a coal miner’s daughter” in Schuylkill County in the Anthracite Region of Pennsylvania, I love to share recipes and memories of home with fellow “coalcrackers” and celebrate our unique blending of Eastern European and Pennsylvania Dutch heritage and cuisines here in northeast Pennsylvania.