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Million Dollar Spaghetti

Embark on a gastronomic journey where layers of rich, savory goodness meet strands of perfectly cooked spaghetti. In today’s culinary exploration, we unravel the secrets behind the Million Dollar Spaghetti—a decadent casserole that marries the flavors of a hearty Bolognese, velvety cream cheese, and layers of gooey melted cheese. Join us as we dive into the world of opulence, where each bite is a testament to the lavishness found in the simplicity of a well-crafted dish.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (14 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh parsley, chopped (for garnish)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat and Prep: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C). Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions until al dente. Drain and set aside.
  2. Bolognese Brilliance: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef. Add chopped onions and minced garlic, sautéing until the onions are translucent. Pour in crushed tomatoes, drained diced tomatoes, dried oregano, dried basil, salt, and black pepper. Let the mixture simmer for 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld into a rich Bolognese sauce.
  3. Creamy Ensemble: In a separate bowl, combine softened cream cheese and sour cream until smooth. This creamy blend will add a luxurious touch to the Million Dollar Spaghetti.
  4. Layering Magic: In a greased 9×13-inch baking dish, create the first layer by spreading half of the cooked spaghetti. Top it with the cream cheese mixture, ensuring an even spread. Now, add a layer of the savory Bolognese sauce.
  5. Repeat and Finish: Repeat the layering process with the remaining spaghetti, cream cheese mixture, and Bolognese sauce. The final layer should be a generous topping of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan cheeses.
  6. Bake to Golden Perfection: Place the baking dish in the preheated oven and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly. The enticing aroma will signal that your Million Dollar Spaghetti is reaching culinary perfection.
  7. Garnish and Serve: Once out of the oven, let the casserole rest for a few minutes. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley for a touch of vibrancy. Slice and serve this opulent creation to eager and delighted guests.

Cook Notes:

  • For an extra kick, consider adding a pinch of red pepper flakes to the Bolognese sauce for a subtle heat.
  • Experiment with a blend of Italian cheeses such as fontina, provolone, or Asiago for a nuanced cheese profile.

Variations:

  1. Vegetarian Elegance: Replace the ground beef with sautéed mushrooms or a medley of your favorite vegetables for a vegetarian twist.
  2. Turkey Transformation: Opt for ground turkey as a leaner alternative to ground beef, maintaining the rich flavors while reducing the fat content.

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Garlic Bread Delight: Accompany your Million Dollar Spaghetti with a side of garlic bread for the perfect mop-up tool to savor every drop of the luscious sauce.
  2. Fresh Salad Harmony: Balance the richness of the casserole with a crisp Caesar salad or a simple Caprese salad. The fresh greens provide a refreshing contrast.

Make-Ahead Marvel: Assemble the Million Dollar Spaghetti up to the baking stage, cover, and refrigerate for up to 24 hours before baking. This make-ahead option is perfect for busy days or entertaining guests.

Keto and Low-Carb Options:

  1. Zoodle Adventure: Replace traditional spaghetti with zucchini noodles (zoodles) for a low-carb alternative. Spiralize fresh zucchini and layer it in place of pasta.
  2. Gluten-Free Glory: Cater to dietary restrictions by using gluten-free spaghetti. There are various gluten-free pasta options available that promise the same satisfying texture.

Million Dollar Spaghetti is not just a dish; it’s a celebration of culinary opulence that brings together the comforting embrace of Bolognese, the velvety richness of cream cheese, and the gooey allure of melted mozzarella and Parmesan. As you savor each bite, let the layers of flavors transport you to a place of indulgence and delight. Whether shared with loved ones on a special occasion or enjoyed as a comforting weeknight dinner, this casserole is a testament to the magic that happens when simple ingredients are layered with care and creativity. So, embrace the allure of Million Dollar Spaghetti and elevate your dining experience with a dish that promises to be a luxurious highlight on your culinary journey. Buon Appetito!

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