When our girls were young I was always looking for recipes that were family friendly and easy on the budget. Being easy to prepare ahead of time was a plus as was using up leftovers in a creative way. For our family, Spaghetti Pie hit all of the marks.
I have never been able to judge how much pasta to cook for dinner and I hate to run short so leftovers are a given. I simply added the cooked pasta to a ziplock and when there was enough to make a “crust” spaghetti pie was on the menu. Same for the pasta sauce. Adding all of those “not enough for another meal” bits of sauce to a container in the freezer worked the same as the pasta. It was almost like creating a free dinner!
My original recipe for this came from an old Ground Beef magazine that has long since been lost but there are a number of recipes available on the internet on sites like Kraft and Taste of Home but here is my basic one:
Spaghetti (enough leftovers to make a crust about 1 1/2 inches thick on the bottom and sides of a pie plate) – you can cook about 6 ounces of dry spaghetti if you don’t have leftovers
1 pound lean ground beef
1 can or jar of your favorite pasta sauce
1 large egg
1 tbs butter or margarine (melted)
1/4 c grated parmesan
1 cup ricotta cheese (you can use cottage cheese if you prefer, I like to press it through a sieve to smooth it out a bit first)
1/2 – 1 c grated Italian cheese blend (or just mozzarella if you prefer)
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Cook pasta if needed or thaw frozen leftover by running under hot water in the ziplock bag. Drain. Toss with egg, butter, and parmesan. Line pie plate to make a generous crust.
Brown ground beef, drain and add pasta sauce to heat through. Should be quite thick.
Spread ricotta on the bottom of crust then top with ground beef mixture.
Bake for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with Italian cheese blend. Return to oven for about 5 – 10 minutes or until melted and heated through. Remove from oven and let set for a few minutes before slicing and serving.
I don’t have any pictures of my pie with the crust but this one from the Kraft site looks much the same.
Always looking for an easy way to get dinner on the table, our girls have now adapted the recipe to become more of a spaghetti casserole. All of the ingredients are mixed together in a cake pan and baked in the oven. Same basic ingredients but a different presentation (also easier to get picky kids to eat the ricotta since it’s mixed in with the meat sauce). Here’s a little slideshow of their version(FYI this way is easier if the kids are helping).
Whichever method you choose, this is an affordable and easy weekday main course that turns into a nice dinner with the addition of a side salad and some garlic toast. It was also a popular dish at Brownie and Girl Guide camp and so easy since you can make it ahead and they freeze well. All we had to do was toss it in the oven and dinner was well on its way.
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