This Baked Spaghetti Casserole has everything great about leftover spaghetti in a delicious freezer friendly casserole. Bite sized pieces of spaghetti baked together with homemade meat sauce and melty cheddar cheese. The combination of tomato sauce and cheddar cheese is one of my favorites, and reminds me of dishes that my grandma would have made and served with slices of white bread and butter. This Baked Spaghetti is a comforting and delicious casserole, and a great way to stretch a pound of ground beef. It’s highly adaptable too. Use mozzarella and parmesan cheese, or add bell peppers when sautéing the onions. This casserole makes about ten servings, so it would be perfect to bake half in an eight by eight dish and freeze the other half for a busy weeknight.
I love making baked casserole dishes like this one, but what I don’t love is how time consuming they can be. Once you have cooked the pasta and made a homemade sauce, sometimes it’s easier to just through them on a plate together. With this recipe, I cut out the long simmer time that traditional meat sauces call for by using a cup of low-sodium chicken broth in the sauce. It really brings the flavors of the sauce together and makes it taste like a sauce that has been simmering for hours.
- 1 pound of lean ground beef
- 1 pound of uncooked cut spaghetti or regular spaghetti noodles broken into pieces
- 1 small onion diced
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 15 oz can of tomato sauce
- 1 cup of low-sodium chicken broth
- 3 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Start by cooking spaghetti according to package directions.
- While spaghetti is cooking, in a separate pan, sauté onions and garlic over medium heat until they start to soften.
- Add ground beef and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon while it browns.
- Season ground beef as it cooks with 1 teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
- Once ground beef has cooked through, add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and low-sodium chicken broth.
- Season with additional teaspoon of salt and pepper to taste.
- Let simmer while pasta finishes cooking.
- Drain pasta and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a 9x13 pan, layer sauce, pasta and cheese.
- Add about 1/3 of sauce to bottom of casserole dish.
- Top with 1/3 of the pasta, followed by 1 1/2 cups of cheese and additional 1/3 of the pasta.
- Add remaining pasta, then sauce, then finish with cheese.
- Cover with foil and bake 30-45 minutes or until sauce is bubbly around the sides and cheese has melted.
- Let stand a few minutes before serving.
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