My oh, my, Spaghetti Pie!
Spaghetti Pie is a delicious combination of spaghetti noodles, spicy Italian sausage, earthy mushrooms, and black olives, and a rich, creamy tomato sauce full of not one, but three kinds of cheese, fontina, feta, and Parmesan! Yes, you read that right, feta cheese! Not something you usually find in spaghetti, but an ingredient that sends this pasta entrée into the stratosphere!
Spaghetti Pie is my new favorite “go-to” pasta casserole, and I’ll bet once you make this decadent and delicious entrée it will become yours too! It’s a great make-ahead dish that would be a wonderful weeknight meal, but it’s also a great entrée to serve company, it’s that good. And because this recipe serves twelve, if your family is small like mine, you could end up with several meals, one to freeze, one to eat and one to take to a sick friend or new neighbor. It would also be great for potlucks! Depending on the size of your family you could have three or more meals for just one effort!
I certainly have had spaghetti pie many times over my lifetime, but for some reason, none of the recipes really stuck with me. That is until the last meeting of my cookbook club. We met on Fat Tuesday and Mary Carroll, our hostess, had a beautiful Mardi Gras themed tablescape complete with beads and masks to compliment our delicious lunch.
This month, instead of each of us making a recipe out of a chosen cookbook, each member brought one of their favorite recipes. My friend Carolyn Haley brought the most delicious Baked Spaghetti that was out of this world good! I even took some of the leftovers home to my husband and he liked it so much he immediately asked me to make it for him.
Unfortunately, like many great cooks, Carolyn has never written her Spaghetti Pie and homemade tomato sauce recipe down. I actually ran into her when I went to the grocery store to get the ingredients for my Spaghetti Pie, and we talked about it. While mine might be close, it’s not identical to her recipe. And really, isn’t that what cooking and creating recipes is all about? You are inspired by a delicious meal but a few different ingredients and a few tweaks later you have your own creation, tailor made to your family’s tastes and preferences. Cooking is an adventure, and you have to celebrate the successes. My husband and I agree on this one, it’s truly one of the successes, and I hope you will try it soon!
The cast of characters for this delicious Spaghetti Pie include thin spaghetti or vermicelli, Italian sausage, portabella mushrooms, black olives, onion, garlic, canned whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano if you can find them), a can of stewed tomatoes, eggs, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, ground black pepper, heavy cream, fontina cheese, feta cheese, and parmesan cheese and optional, fresh basil for garnish.
If you are ready to make a Spaghetti Pie, first gather your ingredients and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray a non-stick cooking spray in one large 13×9 baking dish with high sides or, if you are going to be dividing up the mixture, several smaller baking dishes or deep dish pie pans.
Add the spaghetti to a large pot of boiling salted water over medium-high heat. Cook the noodles according to the package directions for al dente.
While the noodles boil, brown the Italian sausage in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Use a potato masher to break up the sausage into small crumbles. When the sausage is broken up, add the mushrooms, onion, garlic and drained black olives and continue cooking for about 7 minutes. When the meat is browned, remove the pan from the heat and drain any fat.
Add the can of undrained tomatoes and the can of stewed tomatoes to the meat mixture and use a fork to break up the tomatoes. Add 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning and mix well. Cook for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.
When the spaghetti is cooked, drain the pan and add the spaghetti back it. Set aside.
In a medium sized bowl beat the eggs and heavy cream until everything is thoroughly mixed.
Add the fontina and feta cheese and 4 ounces of the Parmesan cheese.
Pour the meat sauce over the spaghetti and mix well. Add the egg mixture and continue mixing until everything is well combined.
Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish and use a pancake turner or spatula to smash it down to compact the noodles.
Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese over the top and bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until it is hot and bubbly and the cheese has melted. Let the dish rest for 10 minutes garnish with fresh basil, slice and serve.
Notes: To make Spaghetti Pie ahead, cover the unbaked pie and refrigerate it for up to 48 hours or freeze it. When you are ready to bake it, allow the frozen pie to thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake as directed.