Others may think of this dish as a slap-together concoction of leftovers, but down South, it’s taken quite seriously. It’s a mainstay at fundraisers, potlucks, and church suppers. This is a layered version, which is more attractive, but you can easily just do it up mix-and-melt style. If you plan to use commercially made sauce, just make sure it’s good quality, since it’ll have a big effect on this dish’s flavor.
From Southern Casseroles by Denise Gee
- 12 Ounces dried spaghetti
- 1 Pound ground bulk Italian sausage
- 1 Cup onion, finely chopped
- 2 24 ounce jars of marinara sauce
- 1/2 Teaspoon Italian herb seasoning
- 1/3 Cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 eggs
- 3 Tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 Pounds ricotta cheese
- 3 Cups Italian blend shredded cheese
- Dried red pepper flakes, for garnish
- Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350˚F.
Break the spaghetti into smaller pieces (perhaps three 4-inch sections) and cook it in boiling water. Two minutes before its suggested cooking time, check to see if it’s al dente (see “Use Your Noodle,” page 31). If so, drain the pasta (but don’t rinse it with water) and set it aside.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the sausage and onion over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink; drain and return it to the skillet. Stir in the marinara sauce and Italian herb seasoning; set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the Parmesan, eggs, and butter. Add the spaghetti and toss to coat.
Spread half of the coated spaghetti mixture into a lightly greased 13-by-9-inch baking dish. Top with half of the ricotta, sausage-marinara sauce, and Italian blend cheese. Repeat the layers once more.
Cover loosely and bake at 350°F for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 to 20 minutes longer, or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Garnish with red pepper flakes and parsley leaves, if desired, before serving.