There are many reasons I love Italian food, but the fact that Italian dishes often include noodles has to be near the very top of my list. In fact, my best friend’s mom served noodles with every dinner, topped with sauce ladled from an ever-present pot of marinara that never – and I mean NEVER! – left the stove. Spaghetti, lasagna, penne, bow tie, angel hair, linguine… words of love in my kitchen, spoken with affection, perhaps with a touch of reverence.
Alas, I don’t live in Italy. Then again, I’d have a very hard time finding good Mexican food, so it’s probably for the best. Anyhoo… here in America, we have a tendency to take an idea and twist it around to do something that’s the same, but different. And such is the Spaghetti Pie. Take a look at the ingredients, and you’ll see the same things you use to build a lasagna, albeit the noodles are a different shape. Bake a pie up, then put it in the fridge overnight, and it tightens up just like your favorite lasagna. Same. But different.
For this particular pie, I used the leftover Mexican Spaghetti sauce I made the night before. You can just as easily use leftover marinara or bolognese sauce, or make a new batch if need be. Take a look at the video and the recipe below, and you’ll see how easy this one is.
1 lb. lean ground beef
2 cups marinara sauce
2-3 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
olive oil or cooking spray
1/2 to 2/3 box of spaghetti noodles, cooked
1 cup (or more) cottage cheese
1 cup or more shredded mozzarella
Preheat oven to 350°.
Heat a large pot or frying pan over medium heat. Brown ground beef until well done.
Add 2 cups of sauce to the pan and stir to combine with ground beef. Reduce heat to low and let simmer while you get everything else ready.
Crack eggs into a large bowl and beat with a whisk. Beat them a lot… like they owe you money.
Melt butter (I use the microwave), add to eggs and whisk to combine.
Add Parmesan cheese and whisk some more.
Grease a pie plate with olive oil, cooking spray or your choice of oil, grease, whatever. I prefer olive oil for its taste.
Prepare noodles according to package directions, or reheat noodles from the night before, as I did. (Again, I use the microwave.)
Give the egg, butter and cheese mixture one final whisk, then add noodles to the bowl. Flip the noodles repeatedly to cover them with the egg mixture. Do it quickly and do it a LOT. You want to get it as even as possible. But don’t worry when it’s not perfect. It never is for me, either. Just do the best you can, OK?
Pour the noodles into the pie plate. Using your hands, press the noodles down to form a bottom crust and up the sides to create the sides of the crust. Once you’re done, wash your hands thoroughly. Don’t just wipe them on a paper towel. Use some water. And some soap would be really cool.
Pour cottage cheese over bottom of pie. I spoon it in a little at a time so I can get better, more even, coverage.
Top cottage cheese with a good layer of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Spoon ground beef/sauce mixture over the cheese. Again, if you do it a little at a time, it will help you keep the layer even.
Put a cookie sheet or piece of aluminum foil on bottom rack of oven, right below where you’re going to put the pie. Place pie on rack in center of oven and bake at 350° for about 20 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle top with more mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Return to oven and bake for another five minutes or until cheese has melted.
Remove from oven and let stand for 7-10 minutes while you prepare the plates and other menu items (salad, bread, what-not).
Cut pie into slices and serve to plates. Dust pie and plate with a sprinkle of the cheese(s) of your choice and serve immediately.
Regarding the ground beef, most people will tell you to drain the fat after browning, and you can certainly do so. You’ll save calories and it will be a healthier meal, to be honest. You can tell by the way I’m writing this, though,that I don’t. Instead, I let it go for a bit longer to reduce it, and leave it in the pan for flavor. But that’s just me. Feel free to drain the fat and return the ground beef to the pan.
While we’re on the beef, remember that if you’re using a leftover bolognese sauce, you won’t have to worry about adding more meat.
If you don’t have a pie plate, you can use an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish. If you’re making a really big batch, you could use a 9×13 dish.
While most people make a pie with spaghetti noodles, you can use pretty much any noodle you want. Except lasagna noodles. Then you’d do it in a 9×13 pan, and you’d call it… lasagna. But you could do a Penne Pie. Or a Bow Tie Pie. That one even sounds kinda cool. So feel free to experiment.
As with any Italian, noodle-based meal, you can serve this with a nice salad and some good bread for a complete and tasty meal. Try this one out, including any variations you might want to try. Then, come back and let me know how it went, OK? And, of course…
Play with your food!
Did you like this recipe? What recipes would you like to learn? Leave me a comment and tell me your thoughts! (And don’t forget to LIKE this post!) Share it using the tiles below.