Spaghetti Pie is one of the oldest recipes in my collection. I have served this to hundreds of people over the years, and when it comes to crowd pleasers, this one is at the top of my list.
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from making a batch of Spaghetti Pie in your own kitchen, which means this recipe is part weeknight wonder, part classroom. Every time you make this dish, you will get more comfortable with some very vital kitchen truths. The fact that you get to learn them in the context of a pile of creamy cheesy noodles is just a bonus.
First, when you brown ground beef, actually brown it. Don’t just cook it until it isn’t pink. Cook it until you see the meat turn brown with crispy bits of flavor. This means your ground beef will actually bring a dose of flavor to the sauce, not just a lack of rawness. When the beef cooks and begins to sizzle in the fat, you will notice little brown specks beginning to show up on the beef. This is a good thing!
Second, heavily (and I mean heavily) salt your pasta water. The pasta will absorb that salt and season the entire dish. Without it, pasta is bland and can really bring the overall flavor of the finished dish to a halt. The pasta water should taste like the ocean. Or, if it’s been a while since you visited the sea, a good quarter cup of salt will suffice.
Lastly, take the ten minutes and grate your own cheese. Pre-grated cheese is coated in a non-caking agent that makes it less melty. Freshly grated cheddar cheese will melt into one glorious sheet of molten goodness on top of your casserole in a way that the prefab stuff never can. Yes, I have skipped this step lots of times for the sake of convenience. Promise me that one time in your life you will grate your own cheese and see the difference a tad bit of effort in this department can make.
The recipe is below, or click on the button if you’d like to print a copy!
1 pound spaghetti noodles
1 (2-pound 13-ounce) jar Prego Traditional spaghetti sauce
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 pound ground beef
8-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
16-ounces sour cream
4 green onions, chopped
12 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9X13 ovenproof baking dish with non-stick spray.
Bring a large pot of water to boil.
While waiting for the water to boil, prepare the meat sauce. In a large saute pan, cook the ground beef, 1 teaspoon Kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder over medium-high heat until the beef is nicely browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the Prego sauce. Set aside.
In a very large mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, and green onions. Mix until completely combined. Set aside.
Once the water is boiling, add 1/4 cup Kosher salt to the water along with the spaghetti noodles. Cook the pasta according to the package directions (usually about 9 minutes). Remove the pasta from the water and place it directly into the bowl with the cream mixture. Stir until the pasta is coated in the cream mixture evenly.
Pour the pasta into the prepared baking dish. Top with the meat sauce. Add the grated cheese. Bake for 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. If the cheese begins to brown too soon, cover the dish with foil.