Every once in awhile you need a meal that sticks to your ribs and makes you remember the good ol’ days. That’s what Mama’s Spaghetti Casserole does for us. We’d come home hungry from school starving and Mama would make this gooey pasta for us in a pinch with a side of her Baked Garlic Herb Bread. We’d get full up and even have plenty left for the next day’s lunch where we would make all of our classmates jealous. It’s such an easy set-it-and-forget-it meal, and Jack is already askin’ for it by name. Y’all mark a gold star on this one in your recipe boxes; you’ll be glad you did.
Mama’s Spaghetti Casserole with Baked Garlic Herb Bread
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For the Casserole:
1 pound uncooked spaghetti
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
1 26-ounce jar spaghetti sauce
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated (about 3/4 cup)
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded or thinly sliced (about 2 cups)
For the Baked Garlic Herb Bread:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-inch loaf Italian bread, halved lengthwise
Preheat oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to package directions; drain.
In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef; cook about 5 minutes or until brown, breaking meat up with a fork as it cooks. Add the salt, oregano, black pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir in the spaghetti sauce, Parmesan, and the cooked spaghetti. Transfer to baking dish. Top evenly with mozzarella. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
For the garlic bread, while the casserole bakes, whisk together the butter, parsley, garlic, and salt. Brush the butter mixture over the cut sides of both bread halves. Wrap each half in aluminum foil; bake, alongside the casserole, for 15 to 20 minutes or until heated through.
For crispier bread, unwrap for the last 5 minutes of baking. Serve bread with the casserole.