Friday, January 28, 2011

Marinara Variation of Italian Tomato Sauce and Spaghetti Casserole Recipe

I made the Moosewood Marinara Variation of Italian Tomato Sauce for a delicious spaghetti casserole dinner. This casserole dish has been in my family forever. I learned to make it from watching my mom make it and I don't even use a recipe! I eyeball everything.  My attempt to write the recipe out at the end of this entry comes with a caution: the measurements are very adjustable!

For the marinara sauce, I made the basic Italian Tomato Sauce and added fresh vegetables. The recipe called for celery, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, and fresh basil. Unfortunately, I did not have the first three ingredients, so I used zucchini, fresh basil, and minced broccoli. The minced broccoli was awesome! It had a texture similar to ground beef and made the sauce very hearty.

Spaghetti Casserole
This is an extremely delicious recipe! As a child, I often requested it for my special birthday dinner.  I make it in a 13"x9" glass pan. It tastes great right out of the oven and reheats beautifully.  The ingredients lists are broken up into layers.

Pasta Layer:
1/2 a pack of Angel Hair Pasta (You can use regular spaghetti noodles if you prefer.)

Marinara Layer:
1/2 a batch of The New Moosewood Cookbook's Marinara Variation of Italian Tomato Sauce (If you prefer another recipe or have a favorite jarred kind of sauce, this can easily be substituted. But remember: homemade is best!)

Cheese Sauce Layer:
1/2 stick of butter
1-2 tablespoons of flour
2 cups of milk
1 cup of cheddar cheese, shredded
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add the flour and mix thoroughly. If it is thin, add another tablespoon of flour until the butter and flour become a paste. Cook for 20-30 seconds over high heat.

2. Working quickly, pour in milk and stir continuously for several minutes, over high heat. The sauce will thicken like a pudding. Remove from heat.

3. Stir in cheese and continue stirring as it melts. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Assembling the casserole:

1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Lay in the bottom of your pan.
2.  Spread the marinara sauce over the layer of noodles, covering evenly.
3. Pour the hot cheese sauce over the tomato sauce.
4. Sprinkle with extra shredded cheese and parmesan cheese.
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes, until the edges of the casserole bubble.

Serve hot, preferably after a long night of class, with fresh veggies and a glass of water!

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