Spaghetti night is a bright light on any family meal plan, and it's often the most budget-friendly dish to whip up in a hurry after a long day at work. The only thing less-than-perfect about spaghetti feasts is that, while delicious, they can often be missing that coveted wow factor that is so hard to come by in cheap, wholesome meals. With this amazing recipe for three-cheese baked spaghetti casserole, you can put the "wow" back into your weekday meals without overstretching your wallet in the process!
This amazing meal calls for a stand-out homemade tomato sauce, any leftovers of which can be stored and kept in the freezer for up to three months. This wonderful spaghetti sauce is then perfectly layered in your casserole dish with delicate angel hair pasta, cheddar and provolone, and then finished off with Parmesan cheese. You can have a bit of fun with the cheese combinations here; mozzarella would be a welcome addition, while a dollop of ricotta between the pasta layers would add a touch of creaminess, if you prefer.
8 ounces (226 g) angel hair pasta (thin spaghetti)
8 ounces (226 g) grated mild cheddar cheese
8 ounces (226 g) grated provolone cheese
6 ounces (170 g) Parmesan cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan. Once heated, add the ground beef, garlic, onions, Worcestershire sauce and bay leaf. Cook until the beef has browned. Drain and return to heat.
Pour in the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer for 40 minutes to an hour.
About 20 minutes before the sauce is done, put a large pot of water on to boil. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cook the angel hair pasta according to package instructions. Drain.
Once the sauce is done, spoon a layer of sauce into the bottom of the casserole dish. Over the sauce, layer one-third of the provolone cheese, one-third of the cooked pasta and one-third the cheddar cheese. Repeat these layers (sauce through cheddar cheese) twice more. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with Parmesan cheese. (You can freeze any remaining sauce for later use.)
Bake the casserole, uncovered, for 30 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Pro tip: If you're stretched for time, you can opt to skip making your own pasta sauce and instead purchase two to three jars of your favorite store-bought sauce.