Saturday, November 01, 2008

Baked Spaghetti

The other night I was a little desperate as to what we were going to do for dinner. My back, as everyone knows has been causing me problems and so I had not gone out yet this week to get groceries. So I went to the pantry and stared at the cupboards - feeling a little like Mrs Hubbard. However, I found more than a bone and gathered up the tomatoes, a single onion and a box of pasta. I then threw together the following sauce and, in short order, the whole family was filing by the kitchen door sniffing and asking what was that delicious smell. I had the sauce simmering in about 20 minutes and left the rest of the meal in the capable hands of one of my older children. I had been baking most of the day and my back really wanted to rest. When my two teen aged daughters and I were coming up for a menu for the upcoming week - we decided to use this recipe to make baked Spaghetti. The only change my children suggested after sampling the baked spaghetti was that I make a more sauce. Next time around I will try four cans and leave the spices as they are and see if they are happy with the results or if I need to adjust the spices to accommodate the increased volume. If any adjustments need to be made I will include them here.


2 medium large onions (or about 4 cups/ 900 ml diced)
2 table spoons garlic
fry in 4 tbsp olive oil on medium heat (8 on my stove) until translucent

Add the following spices

1 tsp parsley
1/2 tsp thyme leaves
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp celery salt

Add 3 cans of diced (or stewed) tomatoes (of the 28 oz variety) One of these cans typically has basil added. Once I add the three cans - I soup out the basil - but one could leave them in if they wished. (I am looking forward to the day when I have my own tomatoes put up and can then use them instead of canned.)

Then I puree it with my little hand held blender.

Turn the burner up and when it starts to bubble - turn it to simmer and cover.

While it is simmering - prepare your pasta of choice.

You can stop at this point and serve with your favourite rolls or bread and/or a salad and you have a delicious homemade dinner that took about 30 minutes to prepare from start to finish.

For Baked Spaghetti I prepare 4 bags of egg noodles of the wide variety ( 12 oz 340 gm bag) I like to use disposable pans as 1) the cheese hardens when baking and cleaning it is difficult and 2) I do not currently own two pans large enough to hold the complete recipe, something I hope to remedy soon with something that can stand a strong scrubbing to get the cheese off!

When the pasta is ready - I drain it, mix it with the sauce and divide evenly between the two pans (13.88"L X 9.63 W X 2.88" D ) and then we evenly divide a bag a 32 oz (8 cups) of mozzarella cheese over it. I bake at 350 until the cheese is well melted. (About 10 - 15 minutes.) I serve it with a green vegetable, usually broccoli and and, if available, rolls.

Serves 14 - 18 people and can possibly go a little further if there are lots of rolls/garlic bread and salad or green vegetables to stretch it out.

Photos of the preparation...

Onions with the garlic just added.

Just added all the spices to the onions.

Ready to puree with my hand held blender.

Pured and ready to be brought to a light bubbling and then left on simmer.

Steaming and ready to be mixed with the sauce that is still simmering on the stove.

Split into the two pans and waiting for the cheese.

Blanketed with the cheese, the children like me to mix some of the cheese in as well, but I have not done that here. Once I have done that - it not so white with cheese.

About 10 - 15 minutes later the cheese is nicely melted and the broccoli is ready.

Bon Appetit!

Onions: less than a dollar (.50)
Garlic: less than a dollar (.50)

Tomatoes: 1.19 a can (3.57)
Pasta: 1.09 a bag (4.36)

Cheese: just under 8 dollars.

Approximate cost was about 17 dollars and we had a whole pan left over that we will be able to use tomorrow. There were 10 people eating at this meal. Add in the 4 dollars for the broccoli we had on the side and we ate for about 2 dollars a person tonight and we have leftovers available.


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