Baked Spaghetti Recipe

Ingredients:

Pasta:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • Salt for pasta water

Meat Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef (or your choice of ground meat)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional, for a bit of heat)
  • 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 15-ounce can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (optional, for extra richness)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Cheese Mixture:

  • 15 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Topping:

  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

Get Started:

  • Preheat your oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius).
  • Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Cook the Pasta:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions until al dente (slightly firm).
  • Drain the spaghetti well.

Make the Meat Sauce:

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Add the ground beef and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned. Drain off any excess grease.
  • Add the onion and garlic to the skillet and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the oregano, basil, red pepper flakes (if using), crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and beef broth (if using). Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Bring the sauce to a simmer, then reduce heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until thickened.

Prepare the Cheese Mixture:

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the ricotta cheese, egg, Parmesan cheese, and parsley (if using).

Assemble the Baked Spaghetti:

  • Spread half of the cooked spaghetti in the prepared baking dish.
  • Top with the ricotta cheese mixture, spreading evenly.
  • Spoon half of the meat sauce over the ricotta mixture.
  • Repeat the layers with the remaining spaghetti, meat sauce, and finally sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheese topping.

Bake:

  • Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil.
  • Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes, or until the cheese is melted, bubbly, and lightly browned.

Rest and Serve:

  • Let the baked spaghetti rest for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving. This allows the cheese to set slightly.
  • Garnish with additional fresh parsley if desired.

Tips:

  • Customization: Feel free to add other vegetables to the meat sauce like mushrooms, bell peppers, or spinach.
  • Meat Options: Use ground turkey, chicken, or Italian sausage as delicious alternatives.
  • Make-Ahead: Assemble the baked spaghetti, cover, and refrigerate for up to a day before baking. You might need to add a few minutes to the baking time.

Enjoy your hot and cheesy Baked Spaghetti!

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