Spaghetti Casserole

Spaghetti CasseroleIngredients

1 pound hamburger meat *
1 can (24 oz.) Del Monte pasta sauce **
1 bag (8 oz.) shredded Italian cheese ***
1 container (16 oz.) small-curd cottage cheese
1 pkg (16 oz.) penne pasta****
salt, pepper, garlic, Italian seasonings to taste

Tips

* I have used 75-85% hamburger meat before. I tend to stick with 80/20 blend. However, this would be a great recipe to try ground turkey or pork!
** You can use any brand and type you want. Just try and use the same amount.
*** Any shredded Italian-type cheese would work great. Main point is to not use things like pepper jack, cheddar, etc. ha
**** Penne, bow-tie, shell cut pasta work great. Regular spaghetti makes dishing it out a little too much of a challenge!

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Begin boiling heavily-salted water too cook pasta. After you have maintained a rolling boil, add pasta and a tbsp or so of olive oil to prevent pasta from sticking to each other. Cook until just a little after al dente. You will be baking this more so just don’t cook it until it’s mush.
  3. Brown ground meat. At this point if you want to add onions or mushrooms go for it.
  4. After browned, add pasta sauce and seasoning. I also added about a half of a cup of Cabernet Sauvignon that I happened to have been drinking at the moment. Bring to a simmer and cook until you feel you have removed any sort of tin can flavor.
  5. Combine cooked pasta, meat sauce, and cottage cheese in bowl.
  6. Pour half of the mix into a 9×13″ pan. Spread half of the shredded cheese over first layer. Then top with the rest of the mix then remaining cheese.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes, uncovered. Halfway through, I rotated my pan but may not be necessary in your oven.
  8. Let cool for a good 15-30 minutes before serving so that the casserole can set up a bit.

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