back to top html arrow button

Share a Spoon - Baked Spaghetti

Thursday, April 7, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


This week's theme is probably second nature to those of us with large families, but not everyone is used to cooking for the masses and on a budget.  However, the larger the family, often the tighter the purse strings.  I was thrilled when Kim over at Foodies Unite suggested this theme.  She's such a faithful and loyal Share a Spoon participant and follower.  I just love her!

Like I mentioned when I posted this week's theme, just because you don't have to feed an army doesn't mean you can't take advantage of this week's recipes.  The thing about these recipes usually is you can scale them up or down without changing the integrity of the dish.  The other thing, which is my favorite part of this week's theme is, you can make these meals for a smaller family and freeze them.  Pastas freeze well.  Chili freezes fabulously.  Soups freeze well.  Cook once, eat multiple times.

Image provided via Google Images.

Baked Spaghetti

1/2 cup Olive Oil
1 large yellow onion diced
3-4 medium carrots shredded
4 cloves garlic minced
1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (1 tsp dried may be substituted)
1 Tablespoon tomato paste
1 Tablespoon crushed red pepper
2 large can San Marzano tomatoes (crushed - I squeeze mine in my hands, but feel free to blitz them in the food processor)
1.3 lbs mild Italian sausage (use whatever you like turkey or otherwise)
1 Tablespoon fresh basil julienned
1 Tablespoon fresh flat leafed parsley

1 lb cooked spaghetti (5-6 minutes)
The spaghetti should be under done.

1/2 cup grated parmesan
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a large heavy bottomed pot.
Add onions, carrots, garlic, red pepper flakes and oregano.  Salt veggies liberally.
Cook veggies over medium heat until browned (10-15 minutes).  Be careful not to burn this mixture or the garlic will become bitter.

Add sausage and continue cooking until the sausage is browned.  Stir in tomato paste and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Add a cup of water or white wine and allow to reduce by half.

Stir in tomatoes.  Allow sauce to simmer for 30 minutes. Stir frequently so that tomatoes don't stick to the pan.  These tomatoes have a high sugar content, they will stick and burn if you don't stir these while they simmer.

Boil the spaghetti in heavily salted water.  Pasta should be under done.  If the directions say 7 minutes, cook it 5.

Remove half of the sauce from the pot.  Add the undercooked spaghetti.  Toss until all the pasta is coated in sauce.

Pour the spaghetti into a large casserole dish.  Cover with remaining sauce.  If you are going to freeze half use two small casserole dishes.   Allow the freezer portion to cool completely before freezing.

Top casserole with parmesan and shredded mozzarella.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until cheese is nicely browned and bubbly.  Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before cutting.

This is fabulous served with a fresh salad and vinaigrette.  I usually throw some veggies in the oven to roast while the sauce is simmering.  Asparagus, cherry tomatoes and mushrooms drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, a bit of salt and pepper and a little fresh grated garlic.  Roast for ten minutes.  Allow to cool.  Toss with some chopped romaine lettuce, shaved parmesan and a fresh vinaigrette.

The roasted veggies really give the otherwise boring romaine some hearty flavors.  You can really stretch your dollar with the veggies adding them to a nice salad rather than serving a side of asparagus along side the baked dish.

Now it's your turn Smackers!  Link up and share your favorite feed the masses dishes!


Anonymous said...

Ha! Look at that! - I am not late. I am first! =)

Your recipe looks sounds yummy! Maybe someday my kids wont be so picky and I can make it.

Amber said...

That looks sooo good!!

this was perfect! because I so forgot to post this recipe during soups week. lol.

Mo 'Betta said...

This sounds fantastic! I love the addition of italian sausage and carrots! I've been looking for good freezer meals too...(possible theme?!) b/c one of these days I'm going to get really organized and get some meals in the freezer for those oh-so-hectic weekdays! (at least I'm hoping to!)

Connie said...


Daffy said...

Fantastico! And I've been doing that lately. Spending my 'free' afternoons?evenings or mornings of a weekend and cooking then freezing. It makes meals during the week SO much easier when I'm tired and lil Duck is ready to eat. The prep time is nearly NIL and its healthy and home made and SO budget friendly!!

You rock my kitchen!

Kathy Detweiler said...

New follower on GFC and this sounds perfect for our community potlucks!

Tiffanee said...

Yum! I love the addition of the carrots. Great way to sneak in extra veggies. This sounds delicious!!

Charlotte said...

Oh, wow! This looks awesome! Thanks for a great recipe :)

Unknown Mami said...

My friend just had a baby and I made her an enchilada casserole. The great thing is that it is so easy to make that I made 1 for her, 2 for us and put one in the freezer. I'm never making regular enchiladas again. I'm all about the meals I can make in batches and freeze some for later. I don't have a large family, but it is still a huge time saver.