Spaghetti Pie with Wild Mushrooms & Spinach

This is a cheesy and delicious vegetarian comfort food dish. The pie was inspired by roadside diner spaghetti sandwiches in New Zealand! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Gail Simmons. I increased the amount of garlic and spinach and modified the baking time for a convection oven. I used a combination of cremini and shiitake mushrooms. Wonderful.

Yield: serves 8 to 10

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°, preferably on convection. Tightly wrap the outside of 
a 9-inch springform pan with foil and brush the inside with butter or spray with cooking oil.
  2. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti 
until barely al dente; drain.
  3. In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until sizzling, about 1 minute.
  4. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
  5. In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Incorporate all of the brown bits from the bottom of the pan.
  6. Scrape spinach into the mushrooms and let cool slightly.
  7. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk.
  8. Add the spaghetti, mushroom mixture, 3 cheeses, sage, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well.
  9. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
  10. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes in a convection oven or 35 minutes in a standard oven, until bubbling and the top 
is golden.
  11. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the ring, cut 
the pie into wedges and serve.

I’m sharing my pie at Angie’s Fiesta Friday #196, co-hosted by Jhuls @The Not So Creative Cook and Antonia @ Zoale.com. Enjoy!

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Shortcut Baked Rigatoni with Meatballs

There are so many end-of-the-school-year parties this time of year. A great time to share a crowd-pleasing casserole! I brought this baked pasta dish to my son’s pre-County Championship Swim Meet pasta dinner. I was thrilled when my friend’s husband asked for the recipe. 🙂

This recipe was adapted from such a fun book- Mad Genius Tips: Over 90 Expert Hacks + 100 Delicious Recipes by Justin Chapple and the Editors of Food and Wine. I love Chapple’s column in the printed magazine and knew I would enjoy this book as well. The pasta and the meatballs cook in the oven. Truly genius!

  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef or ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup lightly packed basil, torn or chiffonade, plus more for garnish
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for serving
  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ziti, rigatoni, rotini, fusilli, shells, or campanelle pasta
  • 1 pound fresh mozzarella, torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 28 oz (about 3 cups) prepared marinara sauce
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pork, beef/turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, 1/3 cup torn basil, 1/4 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper; mix well.
  3. Using a cookie scoop, form the meat mixture into one-inch balls.
  4. In a 9-by-13-inch ceramic baking dish, spread half of the pasta in an even layer.
  5. Arrange half of the meatballs (about 16) and mozzarella on the pasta.
  6. Spoon half of the marinara on top and season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  7. Repeat with the remaining pasta, meatballs, cheese, and marinara. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt.
  8. Place baking dish on a rimmed cookie sheet. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the baking dish and cover tightly with foil.
  9. Bake for about 1 hour, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid is absorbed.
  10. Uncover and bake for 5 minutes longer, until lightly browned.
  11. Let stand for 5 minutes. Garnish with basil and parmesan and serve.

Make Ahead: The baked pasta can be refrigerated overnight. Reheat gently.

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Warm Corn Chowder Salad with Bacon

My kids and I brought this tasty side dish when we went to visit my friend and her family during their vacation at Hither Hills State Park in Montauk, New York. (It’s an annual tradition for us!) She and her husband invite friends and cook TONS of food… even though it’s their vacation. 🙂 This year, we actually spent the night in a tent on their camp site! What an adventure! 🙂

This recipe is from Food and Wine, contributed by Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell. It is best served warm or at room-temperature. The delicious fresh corn flavor really shines in this dish. Great!

Yield: 10 side-dish servings

  • 4 to 5 thick slices of bacon (4 ounces), cut crosswise 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 pound Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 8 ears of corn, kernels removed
  • 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • coarse salt
  1. In a large skillet, cook the bacon over moderately low heat, stirring a few times, until it is crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels and let drain.
  2. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of the bacon fat in the skillet. Add the potatoes and cook over moderate heat until they start to brown, about 3 minutes. Stir and cook for about 2 minutes longer, until almost tender.
  3. Add the diced red peppers and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes and peppers are tender, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the corn kernels and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the vegetables to a large bowl and stir in the onion, cider vinegar, crushed red pepper and bacon.
  6. Season the salad with salt and serve.

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Baked Spaghetti & Mozzarella

IMG_3095

As much as I am absolutely yearning for warmer weather, I do enjoy making (and eating!) comfort food! I don’t know what my body is going to do when I start making lighter meals again…

This is a kid-friendly and pot luck-friendly main dish casserole which would be a great alternative to a Baked Ziti or macaroni and cheese. It could easily be doctored up for a more adventurous palate by adding onions, mushrooms, greens… you get the idea. We did all enjoy it as is with a green salad. It’s simple, cheesy, crispy, and tasty. This recipe was adapted from Everyday Food; I altered the seasonings and used whole wheat spaghetti.

Yield: 6 servings

  • coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole peeled tomatoes (I used Cento San Marzano tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 large garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1 pound spaghetti (I used whole wheat)
  • 2 cups packed basil leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if large
  • 3/4 pound (12 oz) fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees (on convection).
  2. Set a large pot of salted water to boil.
  3. In a food processor, pulse tomatoes until coarsely chopped.
  4. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add red pepper flakes and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cook at a rapid simmer until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Meanwhile, cook pasta 5 minutes (it will still be crunchy). Drain pasta and return to pot.
  6. Add tomato sauce, basil, and half the mozzarella to the pasta and toss to combine.
  7. Transfer mixture to a 3-quart baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden and edges are bubbling, about 25 minutes.

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