Indulge in the comforting nostalgia of an old-school spaghetti casserole that brings together a symphony of flavors and textures. This classic baked spaghetti recipe combines the richness of ground beef, the freshness of vegetables, and the creamy goodness of cheese. The layers of pasta, meat sauce, and a luscious cheese mixture come together in a hearty dish that’s perfect for family dinners or potlucks. Follow along as we guide you through the ingredients and step-by-step preparations of this timeless favorite.
454 grams rotini (elbow or spaghetti can be substituted)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (for boiling pasta)
2 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tbsp garlic (minced from the jar)
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion (white or yellow), diced
227 grams mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (for sautéing vegetables)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
794 grams red pasta sauce
454 grams ground sirloin
60 ml sour cream
1/2 liter grated cheese (Mozzarella, Italian Blend, or Cheddar)
Foil for covering the baking dish
Using a hand blender or immersion blender, blend butter, olive oil, and minced garlic until well combined. Set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil, add a pinch of salt, and cook the rotini according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
Grease a 9 x 12 baking pan with 2 tablespoons of butter.
Dice the green pepper and onion, slice the mushrooms.
Heat the garlic-infused oil in a pan and sauté the peppers, onions, and mushrooms over medium heat for 3-4 minutes.
Drain the cooked pasta and set aside.
Add the ground sirloin to the sautéed vegetables. Season with salt and pepper, breaking the beef into small bites. Cook until the beef is browned, then drain off excess fat.
Pour in the red pasta sauce, stirring well to combine. Allow the sauce to heat through.
While the meat sauce cooks, prepare the cheese mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, blend sour cream, cream cheese, and cottage cheese using a hand mixer until smooth.
Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Layer half of the cooked pasta in the greased baking dish.
Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the pasta layer.
Add the remaining pasta on top, followed by the red meat sauce.
Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Optionally, spray the foil with oil to prevent sticking.
Remove the foil, sprinkle grated cheese on top, and return to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
Conclusion: Allow the baked spaghetti casserole to rest for 5 minutes before serving, letting the flavors meld together. This old-school recipe delivers a satisfying blend of textures and tastes, making it a timeless dish that’s sure to become a family favorite. Serve it up at your next gathering and watch as smiles spread around the table, celebrating the goodness of classic comfort food.