Baked spaghetti is a hot dinner dish that is made with spaghetti noodles and flavored tomato sauce. A baked spaghetti casserole has a full bodied taste that comes from the baking process, which causes flavors from the meat sauce and cheeses to bake into the pasta noodles. This is a fairly easy, affordable dinner that can serve a large group or family.
The ingredients for making baked spaghetti include spaghetti noodles, spaghetti sauce and an Italian shredded cheese. Most baked spaghetti casserole dishes are made with mozzarella cheese or Parmesan, but these can also be substituted with Colby Jack or cheddar cheese. The sauce is typically homemade, but store-bought spaghetti sauces can be used to speed up the preparation time.
The steps to making a baked spaghetti casserole are similar to those used for making baked lasagna. The first step is to boil the spaghetti noodles and prepare a meat sauce. After the noodles and sauce are ready the casserole is prepared by creating layers of sauce, noodles and cheese, which are stacked on top of each other. This process is repeated until the sauce reaches the top of the casserole dish. Once the dish is filled it should be covered and placed in a preheated 350° Fahrenheit (177° Celsius) oven for about 30 minutes. It is important to keep the dish covered during baking or the noodles and sauce will become dry and crunchy.
A baked spaghetti casserole is typically served with a side salad and baked garlic bread. For a formal dinner party, an antipasti platter can be added as an appetizer, which goes well with most Italian-style foods. These sides complete the meal and can be served with a red Cabernet or Merlot wine.
Spaghetti is typically high in calories and carbohydrates and may not be the best choice for people who are dieting. A baked spaghetti casserole can have more than 600 calories per serving. Dieters may want to consider eating this dish for an occasional dinner, or eating it in moderation to ensure it doesn’t cause unnecessary weight gain.
Baked spaghetti casserole is a family style platter that is often served at Italian restaurants. This food can be shared between dinner guests and is easy to pass around a dinner table. Family style dining is an Italian tradition where large plates of food are passed around a table and guest select the portion size they want from each plate.