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Spaghetti Dishes, the Un-Casserole

Knowledge is Pleasure

When I was a young mother, I received a pamphlet on making casseroles from my mother-in-law. It was a multi-page chart that consisted of four columns: Noodles, Vegetables, Meat, Sauce (with the sauce being cans of soup). You chose one from each column, layered it and cooked it. Voila, instant meal! [Here's a modern day version, Invent-A-Casserole-Chart.]

The chart provided good insight into my mother-in-law's cooking, which seem to consist of nine casseroles and four gelatin desserts at any family occasion. Needless to say, I thought the chart was hilarious.

Fast forward many years to February 2012, after I received my third box of Green Bean produce. Vegetables were starting to stockpile in my refrigerator, including some that I never use in normal life. Couple this with a telephone conversation with my son, in which he described the delights of a simple spaghetti dish he made for himself many times while going through university, and the light bulb went on. Spaghetti, the perfect vehicle for almost anything! Spaghetti, the star of a lot of recipes that I had tuned out because they were mostly, well, spaghetti!

That night, I shredded the Bibb lettuce that was starting to look rather peaked, heated it up in a dish on top of a pot that was cooking spaghetti, and then dumped the spaghetti with some olive oil and parmesan on top. Wow, that was good. Next, the romaine lettuce with its strong flavor and those dark green vitamin-A hoarding leaves: cut into narrow strips, saute, throw in a few too-hard grape tomatoes and dump spaghetti on top. Voila!

And then, OMG, I realized that the Baked Spaghetti recipe that I had copied but never tried was actually Lasagna but without the lasagna noodles... spaghetti instead!

Tonight, the remaining romaine lettuce is going to be garnished with a thin omelet cut into strips... look out vegetable world!

PS I do not think a can of soup is ever going to be necessary...

Baked Lasagna Spaghetti

  1. Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package directions. Drain and and toss with 2T olive oil.
  2. In a large skillet, cook beef and onion over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain.
  3. Shred the mozzarella.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add ricotta, Parmesan cheese, salt and seasonings.
  5. Drain the meat and let it cool a minute, then add to the eggs/ricotta mix.
  6. Oil the pans with spray oil and then add a thin layer of sauce to the bottom.
  7. Place half of the spaghetti mixture in a greased lasagna (or 2 8-inch pans).
  8. Top with half of the ricotta cheese, sauce and mozzarella cheese.
  9. Repeat: spaghetti, ricotta/meat, mozzarella cheese and sauce.
  10. Top with reserved mozzarella.

Cover and bake at 350 degrees F for 40 minutes.
Then uncover; bake 20-25 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Maura Enright, Proprietor
©2012 - 2014 by Maura Enright
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