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Baked Spaghetti and Meat Recipe

Savor the Comfort: Baked Spaghetti and Meat Recipe

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Indulge in the ultimate comfort food experience with our Baked Spaghetti and Meat recipe. This classic dish takes traditional spaghetti and meat sauce to new heights by baking it with layers of gooey cheese until golden and bubbly. Perfect for family dinners or gatherings with friends, this hearty and satisfying meal is sure to become a favorite. Join us as we explore the steps to creating this deliciously comforting dish that will leave everyone coming back for seconds.

Ingredients

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound (450g) spaghetti
  • 1 pound (450g) ground beef or ground Italian sausage
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces/800g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces/400g) diced tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups (200g) shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup (100g) grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Cook Spaghetti: Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Prepare Meat Sauce: In a large skillet, cook the ground beef or Italian sausage over medium heat until browned. Add the chopped onion and minced garlic, and cook until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add Tomatoes and Seasonings: Stir in the crushed tomatoes, diced tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and pepper. Simmer the sauce for about 10-15 minutes to allow the flavors to meld together.
  4. Assemble the Dish: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). In a large baking dish, spread a thin layer of the meat sauce on the bottom. Layer half of the cooked spaghetti over the sauce, followed by half of the remaining meat sauce. Sprinkle half of the shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Repeat the layers with the remaining spaghetti, meat sauce, and cheese.
  5. Bake: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serve: Remove the foil from the baking dish and garnish with fresh parsley if desired. Serve hot and enjoy the deliciousness of baked spaghetti and meat!

Cook’s Notes and Variations:

  • Vegetarian Option: Omit the ground beef or Italian sausage for a vegetarian version of this dish. Instead, you can add diced vegetables such as bell peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini to the sauce for extra flavor and texture.
  • Spice it Up: Add a pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of hot sauce to the meat sauce for a spicy kick.
  • Cheese Variations: Experiment with different types of cheese such as cheddar, provolone, or fontina to customize the dish to your taste preferences.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

  1. Can I use whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti? Yes, you can substitute whole wheat or gluten-free spaghetti for traditional spaghetti if desired. Follow the package instructions for cooking time and adjust as needed.
  2. Can I make this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can assemble the dish ahead of time and refrigerate it until ready to bake. Simply cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Bake as directed when ready to serve.
  3. Can I freeze leftovers? Yes, you can freeze leftover baked spaghetti and meat for future meals. Allow the dish to cool completely, then transfer individual portions to freezer-safe containers or resealable bags. Label with the date and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating in the oven or microwave.
  4. What can I serve with baked spaghetti and meat? Baked spaghetti and meat pairs well with a side salad, garlic bread, or steamed vegetables for a complete meal. You can also serve it with a sprinkle of fresh basil or additional grated Parmesan cheese for extra flavor.

Keto and Low-Carb Versions: For those following a keto or low-carb lifestyle, here are some modifications you can make to adapt this recipe:

  • Vegetable Noodles: Substitute spaghetti with spiralized zucchini noodles (zoodles) or spaghetti squash for a low-carb alternative.
  • Low-Carb Sauce: Use a sugar-free marinara sauce or homemade tomato sauce with no added sugar to reduce the carb content of the dish.
  • Cheese Options: Choose low-carb cheese options such as mozzarella, provolone, or goat cheese for topping.

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In conclusion, Baked Spaghetti and Meat is a timeless classic that never fails to satisfy. With its layers of savory meat sauce, tender spaghetti, and gooey melted cheese, it’s a comforting dish that brings joy to the table. Whether you’re cooking for a crowd or enjoying a cozy meal at home, this recipe is sure to please. Get creative with variations and adaptations to suit your taste preferences, and savor every delicious bite of this comforting favorite. Happy cooking!

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