What’s your favorite comfort food? Our family’s recent go-to is baked spaghetti,
I belong to a group on Facebook for food lovers that also enjoy True Crime. It has the absolute best name (it’s for fans of My Favorite Murder) Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Crime. Isn’t that just the best?
Anyhow, one of the more common topics I see is: I have a friend who is going through a tough time; my friend just had a baby, my friend just lost their parent/grandparent, what can I bring over?
One of my top suggestions has always been chicken bog.
But now I have a new one, that may even beat chicken bog as my top suggestion. 😱 I know, I can’t believe it, either.
Our spaghetti has always been a family favorite meal and is so loved that it is also a company dinner, but it does not travel well. Frankly, it feels a little weird to hand a family a gallon bag of frozen homemade sauce and a box of noodles and say thaw this, and you’ll love it, I promise!
When I take a meal to a family, I don’t do it with the expectation that they will be in the position to eat it right then. They may not be hungry—grief does that— they may be swimming in food right then, or maybe they actually had the energy to cook something they wanted to that day. I like to give an option for something down the road. Baked spaghetti fits the bill perfectly. If you choose to do this, make it in a disposable lasagna pan and cook it up just to the step where you add the mozzarella to the top. Then rapidly cool it and cover it tightly with aluminum foil.
You can take it over, with a salad, and garlic bread, if you know the family will eat it soon or, you can go ahead and freeze it if you know it might be a while. At that point, it gets treated just like frozen lasagna. Bake covered at 375 for 1:45 until bubbly, uncovered until the top is browned. (Check to make sure it is heated through)
So why does baked spaghetti tie or maybe even beat out chicken bog? Well, chicken bog is a regional dish, and while people here in South Carolina know it and generally love it, many parts of the country have never heard of it. Spaghetti? Well, that’s pretty much beloved in every corner of the US. Now, if you only like your spaghetti al dente, baked spaghetti isn’t going to be for you.
However, if a dish of warm, cheesy noodles covered in your favorite spaghetti sauce lights you up? You’ve come to the right place?
So how do you do this?
It’s easy as pie.
Dare I say… easier?
Add your noodles and water. Here’s where the ratio is critical. 1 cup of water: 4 ounces of noodles. 1lb noodles: 4 cups water.
Since I use a very meaty sauce, I do not count my sauce as part of the water. If your sauce is watery, you may be able to dial back the water.
Yes, I have an industrial workstation in my home kitchen. It is cost-effective while we save to remodel.
Then, add your sauce, which should be steaming hot.
Then add your cheeses.
Stir, cover, bake, and uncover, stir, again, before topping with more cheese.
And broil until bubbly and browned to your taste.
Serve with a salad of your choice and maybe some garlic bread.
- 1 pound (16 ounces) dry spaghetti noodles, broken in half
- 4 cups (32 ounces) boiling water
- 2 – 3 cups of your favorite spaghetti sauce, heated through
- 1/2 – 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1 – 2 cups mozzarella, divided
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- In a large baking dish (at least 8×13, a lasagna dish) lay the broken spaghetti noodles. Cover them with the 4 cups of water. Followed by the hot spaghetti sauce.
- Add the parmesan and half of the mozzarella.
- Stir gently.
- Cover with foil and place in the oven.
- Bake for one hour.
- Remove from the oven and stir gently, loosen any pasta that has stuck to the bottom of the pan. Top with the remaining mozzarella and place under the broiler for about 5 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and just starts to brown.
Keep a close eye on this. It doesn’t take long to go from delicious to burnt. However, you can peel the top layer off if you get distracted. Not that this has ever happened to me
PS. If you scrolled this far. this is what a quadruple batch of our spaghetti sauce looks like. Yes, that’s 8 pounds of meat (4 of ground venison). Future Heather will be very happy that she went into this trouble. Present Heather is just tired and glad she has four teenagers who will be packaging the rest up to freeze. Yes, having staff is nice, sometimes.