baked spaghetti

This is mostly Paula Deen’s recipe, with a few minor changes.

In a large stockpot, combine:

  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups tomato sauce
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 small diced onion
  • 1 small diced green bell pepper
  • 3 or 4 crushed garlic cloves (3 if large, 4 if small)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped Italian parsley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • several grindings of black pepper (a baker’s dozen should do it)
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour.

About 20 minutes before the hour is up, start browning 1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef. Cook until it’s no longer pink at all, drain the fat, and add to the sauce when the hour is up. Simmer for another 20 minutes.

While it’s simmering, cook 8 oz. angel hair pasta according to package directions, and grate 1 cup each of Monterey and cheddar cheese. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

When everything’s ready, get a 9″ x 13″ casserole dish and put 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom. (Be on the lookout for the bay leaves and pick them out.) Layer 1/2 of the pasta, then a little less than 1/2 of each of the cheeses. Put another layer of sauce, pasta, and cheese, and top with the remainder of the sauce.

Bake for 30 minutes, then top with the rest of the cheese. I also grated some parmesan on top at this point, you may want to also. How much is up to you. Return to the oven for about 5 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbling. Let sit for a few minutes before cutting into 8-10 pieces.

Serve with salad and garlic bread, of course!

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