I’m constantly thinking what to cook for a family of five. As much as I am content with a bowl of cereal with some fruit and could call that a day, there are the others that I am always concerned with feeding. Not only feeding, but pleasing the palettes of all of them. These types of times call for comfort food though. That’s why I have always been here to the rescue whether you realize it or not, and one of those comfort foods that I know everyone loves in the house is lasagna.
So as I thought I had planned on a lasagna dinner a couple of weeks ago, I thought I had everything on hand, but little did I know that I only had 4 sheets of lasagna in my box of lasagna. This seems like it always happens to me, always! I shrugged that off rather quickly and as I often do, I quickly thought of something else. That’s when the million dollar spaghetti started to take shape.
So what is it? By the looks, it appears to be a lasagna style casserole with spaghetti. Well, that’s about right. It’s a cheap, delicious, and filling spaghetti bake that will have you eating for a few days, and WOW WAS IT DELICIOUS.
Let’s get started.
- 1 lb spaghetti, cooked al dente
- 4 sheets dry, oven ready lasagna, torn, optional
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 whole onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/4 lbs ground chuck
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning, dried
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 24 oz your favorite Marinara sauce
- 16 oz ricotta cheese (I use part skim)
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 cup cream cheese
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 8 slices provolone cheese
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of parmesan cheese, grated to your liking, plus extra for plating
Start by heating a large skillet, and a large pot of water on the stove.
Add the oil to the skillet and give that a swirl. Add onions, stir, and cook for about 6 minutes. Toss in the garlic and give another stir. Add in the ground meat and gently break it up into the skillet with a wooden spoon or spatula. Continue cooking on medium heat, breaking up and stirring along the way.
Add a few generous pinches of salt to the water.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
The water should be boiling so add in the spaghetti (if you want to break them in half, feel free) and cook until al dente.
The ground meat should be nicely browned by now, so strain any fat out. I like to put a lid (if you have one) or a pizza pan or something over the top and then tilt and remove any fat or liquid. Return the skillet back to the stove and add in half of the marinara and the sour cream. Give this a good stir to mix everything. Turn off the heat.
To a mixing bowl add the eggs and give them a good whisk to break them up. Add in the ricotta, cream cheese, salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, parmesan, and basil. Mix well.
Strain the pasta and mix in the remaining marinara sauce. Make sure everything is nicely coated. I added the dried lasagna sheets to use them up as well.
Now to assemble the million dollar spaghetti.
To the bottom of a casserole dish, add in a ladle of the meat sauce. Swirl that around. Add in the spaghetti and shape it into the dish. Spread on the ricotta cheese mixture. Top with the remaining meat sauce to cover the top, then the slices of provolone and dollops of unsalted butter. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.
After a few minutes, slice and serve. Shower with more grated Parmesan should you desire. As much as the lack of lasagna sheets tried to throw me off, I’m glad I had resorted to the million dollar spaghetti. The blend of cheese alone with the slight tang of the sour cream makes you question which is better, the lasagna or the spaghetti casserole. I can attest my family didn’t mind, and it fed them for a couple of days.
This one is great in those of need of comfort. It’s low budget, and feeds a lot. Enjoy and stay safe my friends!