This baked spaghetti casserole is cozy comfort food at it’s best! Think: spaghetti with meat sauce, a creamy center, and then topped with hot and bubbly cheese! This is a casserole the whole family will love!
The best thing about this baked spaghetti casserole – besides the fact that it’s delicious – is that it’s the perfect dish to make for large gatherings! That’s because it’s well-liked by all, especially kids!
I mean, what’s not to love? This baked spaghetti dish is layered with meat sauce and ricotta (or cream) cheese and then topped with even more cheese!
This casserole is a great make-ahead meal – it stores well in the fridge and freezer. So if you have guests coming over this holiday season, make this casserole before they come and freeze it! Then relax, enjoy, and entertain!
I’m not sure who originally thought to make spaghetti and then bake it with cheese, but it’s such a brilliant idea! It’s a nice change from lasagna and let’s admit it – spaghetti noodles are way more fun to eat.
While this recipe does require some prep work, once it’s done, you can relax and know you’ve got a dish that’ll feed a lot of people. Perfect for this holiday season and holiday visitors! This is a great dish to enjoy during Christmas week!
It’s also a great dish to make a new mom, a busy mom, or well, anyone who could use a tasty casserole.
Eat some casserole on its own or serve it with a salad for a more complete meal! Garlic bread/toast would also be so perfect with this! Mmmmm…
- 12 ounces (gluten free or regular) spaghetti, cooked 2-3 minutes less than the package recommends
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 pound ground turkey (or meat of choice)
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 red/orange/yellow bell pepper, diced
- 1 (28 – 32 ounce) jar marinara sauce of your choice (I love Rao’s Homemade)
- 1 cup (high quality grassfed) ricotta cheese OR 4 ounces of softened cream cheese (½ package)
- 3 cups shredded mozzarella, divided
- ½ cup shredded parmesan
- Fresh parsley, garnish
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Heat a dutch oven or large skillet over medium heat and add the oil. Once it heats up, add the ground turkey, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook until the meat is browned.
- Add the bell pepper and stir, then add the marinara sauce and cooked noodles and mix well.
- Pour half of this mixture into a 9×13 baking pan (or split between two smaller baking pans like the 7-inch round pictured above), then add the ricotta or cream cheese as well as 1 cup of the mozzarella.
- Then add the remaining pasta mixture and top the casserole with the remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese and the parmesan cheese.
- Bake for 30 minutes then broil for an additional couple of minutes for a bubbly crust if desired.
- You can make one large batch of baked spaghetti by using one 9×13 baking pan OR you can split this into two batches and freeze one for another day. We usually freeze half as we’re a small family of two adults and a toddler. The frozen leftovers also taste amazing – just as good as fresh!
- Layering the pasta doesn’t have to be exact. This is a forgiving recipe.