Monday, April 2, 2012


I love pasta in any form. You just can't go wrong with it! I love the simplicity of boiling the noodles and tossing them with a yummy sauce. It's so simple, yet it seems so elegant. And baked pasta--though not as quick and easy as regular pasta--is one of my favorite comfort foods. And what is my favorite type of pasta? Spaghetti. If I could only ever have one type of pasta for the rest of my life, I would choose spaghetti. I just love it.

However, the idea of preparing my favorite type of pasta in a baked form never occurred to me. I mean, you can find all sorts of recipes for baked penne, rigatoni, ziti, etc. But you don't run across too many for baked spaghetti.

Then, one day, I was looking for a recipe that to use up some extra fresh mozzarella that I had bought too much of. But I didn't want to have to go to the store for additional ingredients...especially when they would most likely be costly. Because let's face it, if a recipe calls for fresh mozzarella, it usually calls for all sorts of other fancy (and expensive) ingredients.

But along came this recipe and all of my problems were solved. :) It takes a little longer to make than just making a spaghetti sauce from scratch and tossing it with some cooked spaghetti. But it's definitely worth it. And on top of that, the leftovers were even better the next day! I love dinners like that because then the leftovers are a lot more desirable.

One warning though, the recipe instructs you to cook the spaghetti less than you would to get al dente noodles. This is VERY important. Otherwise, you will end up with really, really mushy noodles. And unless you LOVE spaghettios, that is not a good thing with this dinner. Baked pastas are supposed to be firm, not squishy.

Another thing to love about this dinner? It doesn't have a ton of ingredients. I think you're going to like it!

Baked Spaghetti and Mozzarella


Coarse salt
2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
3/4 pound spaghetti
2 cups packed basil leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if large
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely chopped. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a rapid simmer until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes. Meanwhile, cook pasta 5 minutes (it will still be crunchy). Drain pasta and return to pot. Add tomato sauce, basil, and half the mozzarella and toss to combine. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

Source: Martha Stewart website.

Notes: You can add pepper, to taste, as well if you like.

1 comment:

  1. Simple, but that fresh mozzarella and basil would give it yummy flavor. :)