For this month’s Secret Recipe Club, I had Jennifer’s For Such a Time as This blog, which showcases her interests beyond recipes including her family, her faith, and life observations. Like most of us, she struggles to keep her family on track to eat healthy and affordable. Her sticky buns sure looked tempting, along with a number of tasty-sounding desserts and baked goods, but I finally decided to make the spaghetti pie. My guys sometimes plead with me to just make “normal food,” and I knew this fit the bill. Who doesn’t love baked pasta?
I must confess that I made a major mistake in its preparation. I proceeded to cook the ground beef just as I always do when making meat sauce, sautéed with garlic and onions. The recipe has you make meatballs, which I didn’t recall until I read in the last paragraph of the recipe, “Scatter meatballs on top.” What meatballs? What resulted was basically baked spaghetti. While it was tasty, it ended up being nothing out of the ordinary. Craig said he envisioned cooked spaghetti, with no sauce, as the “crust” and sauce, cheese, and veggies as the “pie” filling. I knew the recipe did not have you prepare it like; it calls for combining the cooked pasta, sauce, cheese, and shredded carrots and spooning the mixture into a pie plate. You then scatter the meat balls on top, sprinkle with mozzarella, and bake. Next time, I will attempt to make it more like Craig’s method as a pie. The recipe below reflects Jennifer’s instructions with my ingredient changes, namely the addition of a lot more veggies. I served it with a salad for a complete meal.
Non stick cooking spray
3 ounces spaghetti
1/2 pound ground beef, preferably grass-fed, hormone- and antibiotic-free
1/4 cup minced broccoli
1 large egg white
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup onion, diced (red or white)
1/2 cup carrots, finely diced
1 C broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/2 zucchini, shredded (I had some in the freezer from last summer’s abundant zuc crop)
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
2-2 1/2 cups marinara sauce, preferably homemade
1 cup cottage cheese, lowfat works
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Red pepper flakes to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella, lowfat works
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with cooking spray.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain in a colander.
In a small bowl, mix the ground beef with the minced broccoli, egg white, Parmesan, and garlic. Form 1/2 inch balls from the mixture.
In a large skillet, sauté onions until starting to soften. Add carrots, broccoli, and red bell pepper and sauté until almost softened. Add mushrooms and cook until no liquid remains. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, stir the cooked pasta, sautéed vegetables, marinara sauce, cottage cheese, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.