Monday, February 28, 2011
Freezing pasta and making it come back to life is not the easiest thing to pull off. We've had some attempts with the Make Ahead Mamas group I host, and it has been hit or miss. With the addition of a lot of flavor and binder to the pasta in this recipe, though, it works very nicely. I made my casserole with rice linguine, everyone else's with whole wheat spaghetti noodles. I thought it was delicious; unfortunately the husband doesn't like pasta, so we end up cutting it into smaller sizes and freezing it for use at lunch. I started with a recipe from southernfood.about.com and tailored it to my preferences.
(also called spaghetti pie, but this, by no stretch of the imagination, forms a real "crust")
Mix together in a large bowl and then line a casserole dish like a crust with:
1 package spaghetti noodles (12-16 oz), cooked according to package and drained
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound ground beef, or half ground beef-half Italian sausage. For the recent Make Ahead Mamas meeting I actually slow cooked beef short ribs in a tomato broth then pulled the meat and excess fat off the bones, shredded it and added the sauce and veggies to it and let it slow cook in the roaster oven overnight. For everyday use, I use ground beef. You ladies just got lucky ;)
Add to your ground beef and saute until softened:
1 small onion, chopped
4 ounces mushrooms, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 carrot, shredded
1/2 c greens (I used frozen collards), chopped
1 quart, more or less-use your better judgment-spaghetti sauce to the meat filling, then top your noodles with that.
Top the casserole with more:
Parmesan cheese and shredded cheese to cover. I like using blends, or you can use just Mozzarella. Havarti melts very nicely with a mild flavor, Cheddar has a wonderful flavor. I think I used a blend of all four cheeses mentioned the last time we had it.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the top is nice and browned and bubbly. I baked for the freezer just until the top was thoroughly melted but not browned, then let it cool and covered the pan with foil and put in the freezer. To reheat, let thaw in the fridge then bake at 350 until it browns and is bubbly with melted cheese again.