Spaghetti Casserole is a dish you won’t want to miss. If you love lasagna, you are going to love this casserole. It is easier to prepare than lasagna and tastes just as good. We will fill this with ricotta cheese, so it is wonderfully creamy and crowd-pleasing.
Are you looking for easy recipes for dinner that you can make on the weekend and reheat during the week if you are too busy to cook? Well, then you will love this Baked Spaghetti Casserole recipe. Imagine all the flavors of a lasagne, only much easier to prepare. Once you try this baked spaghetti recipe, it will definitely become part of your weekly menu!
Let’s Talk Pasta
Even though this is called a Spaghetti Casserole, there is no reason why you should stick with using just spaghetti. In fact, bucatini, a hollow tube-shaped pasta, is excellent because it allows some of the sauce to get inside for even more flavor.
But you can also make this dish with any other kind of pasta that you have hanging around in the back of your cupboard. Try mixing different types of pasta if you have a bit of this and a bit of that left. If the cooking times differ, start cooking the pasta that takes the longest and add the others when their correct cooking time remains. Since you will wind up baking the pasta anyway, the shape isn’t critical, I do suggest cooking the pasta al dente because this is a baked spaghetti casserole.
Feel free to use gluten-free, whole wheat, or chickpea flour pasta in this recipe.
Three Different Meats, Oh Yeah!
This Baked Spaghetti Casserole recipe is a meat-lover’s dream. Although using three different types of meat may seem a little excessive, don’t even think about getting rid of any of them! Mixing beef and pork together is classic Italian-style cooking and provides luxurious flavors that go way beyond using ground beef on its own.
While cooking the meat, don’t be tempted to drain off all of the excess fat from the pan. You will need about two tablespoons worth of oil to cook the mushrooms and onions anyway, and rendered bacon grease will make the vegetables taste even more amazing.
Make This Baked Pasta Dish Your Own
Like any other casserole, this is a recipe that you can change to suit your taste or what you have on hand.
Start by adding a variety of vegetables to the dish. If you are an eggplant person, simple fried eggplant is fantastic in this recipe. To save time, try cutting up premade breaded eggplant cutlets. Zucchini or squash are also great additions.
Try substituting a bechamel sauce for the tomato-based sauce, but keep all the other ingredients the same. It is a quick and easy way to change the entire flavor of the dish.
Tips for Making, Serving, and Storing Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- Don’t burn your spaghetti. Ensure that the bottom of your casserole dish is completely covered with sauce to help protect your pasta.
- Put a little something on the side. Although this casserole is plenty on its own, why not add a simple side salad, a few slices of garlic bread, or roasted brussel sprouts?
- Save for later. You can freeze this casserole directly in the dish before or after cooking. If you freeze uncooked, then just let it thaw overnight in the fridge before baking according to the recipe. To reheat a pre-cooked casserole, thaw, cover, and pop in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes.
Spaghetti Casserole Recipe Ingredients
Here’s a list of what you need:
- Spaghetti pasta
- Ground beef chuck – if desired you could swap the ground beef for ground turkey
- Italian sausage
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Olive oil
- Parmesan cheese
- Spaghetti sauce – you could use meat sauce if desired
- Ricotta cheese – if you don’t have any on hand small curd cottage cheese is a good substitute
- Shredded cheese – Italian blend is perfect if you can’t locate this shredded mozzarella will work well
Pasta for Baked Spaghetti Casserole
I have made this recipe with bucatini and angel hair pasta.
Bucatini is shaped like spaghetti, but the noodles are hollow.
I like to use angel hair pasta when I am in a hurry because it cooks most quickly.
You can use any pasta, this recipe is very flexible. You can use what you have on hand.
You can use whole wheat pasta for the extra goodness of whole grains.
If you want a low-carb casserole, use low-carb spaghetti noodles.
How to Make Spaghetti Casserole
- Sauté the ground beef, Italian sausage, and bacon in a pan over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper while it is cooking.
- Chop the onion and mushrooms and add them to the pan.
- Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to the meat. Stir to combine.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, reserve some pasta water, then drain the spaghetti and place it n a large bowl
- Add olive oil, eggs, and Parmesan cheese to the spaghetti. Stir to combine.
- Place pasta sauce and pasta water into a separate bowl and stir to combine.
- Ladle enough sauce to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
- Add half of the cooked spaghetti.
- Place dollops of ricotta cheese on top of the spaghetti.
- Spoon half of the meat over the ricotta cheese.
- Sprinkle half of the shredded Italian blend cheese on top.
- Pour enough sauce into the dish to cover the meat.
- Place the remaining pasta on top.
- Place the remaining meat on the pasta.
- Sprinkle the remaining Italian cheese on top.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.
You can make this recipe with one type of meat if you desire. I like to use the mixture of Italian sausage and ground chuck because it gives a more rich flavor.
You can substitute the Italian sausage with turkey sausage. You could even go for light turkey sausage and that will taste splendid too.
If you can’t find an Italian cheese blend at your grocery store mozzarella works very well. If you have some leftover vegetables in your pantry, you could easily add a little zucchini or carrots for a nice change.
Looking for great spaghetti recipes? Try these family favorites!
- Chicken Spaghetti Bake
- Olive Garden Spaghetti Carbonara
- Spaghetti Puttanesca
- Spaghetti Salad
- Taco Spaghetti
Popular Italian Recipes
Favorite Casserole Recipes
- Dorito Casserole
- Hamburger Tater Tot Casserole
- King Ranch Chicken Casserole
- Old Fashioned Tuna Casserole
- 12 ounces spaghetti
- 1/2 pound ground beef chuck
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage
- 1 ounce bacon chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes add more if you like it spicy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup Parmesan cheese
- 14 ounces pasta sauce
- 1 cup water
- 1 pound ricotta cheese
- 3 cups shredded Italian blend cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sauté the ground beef, Italian sausage, and bacon in a pan over medium-high heat.
Season the meat with salt and pepper.
While the meat is cooking, chop onion and mushrooms and add them to the pan.
Add Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes to the pan. Stir to combine.
When the meat has cooked thoroughly, remove it from the pan, and drain excess grease if necessary.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.
Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions.
Reserve 1 cup of pasta water for the casserole once the pasta has finished cooking.
Drain the pasta.
Place cooked spaghetti into a large bowl.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 beaten eggs, and 1 cup of Parmesan cheese to the spaghetti. Stir well to combine all ingredients.
Place pasta sauce into a separate large bowl with the 1 cup of reserved pasta water. Stir to combine to create a thin sauce.
Ladle just enough sauce to cover the bottom of a 13 x 9-inch baking dish.
Add half of the cooked spaghetti to the dish.
Spoon ricotta cheese on top of the spaghetti. The dollops will melt while cooking.
Spoon half of the meat mixture over the ricotta cheese.
Add 1 1/2 cups of shredded Italian blend cheese on top of the meat mixture.
Pour just enough sauce in the dish to cover the meat.
Place the remaining pasta on top.
Place the remaining meat on the pasta.
Sprinkle the remaining Italian cheese on top.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes, until heated through and the cheese on the top is melted and lightly browned.