This tasty baked spaghetti casserole is a perfect dish to serve for any weeknight dinner or special occasion. It's also an easy dish to cook for friends' gatherings or pot luck, and it won't break the bank. Anyone, even those picky eaters, will love and devour this baked spaghetti.
Thinking of what to make for dinner tonight? Try this classic pasta dish. This baked spaghetti casserole is loaded with flavors and gooey cheese. It's made of simple ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry. It's so easy and affordable to make and is a great recipe that your kids will surely enjoy.
Baked Spaghetti Casserole Ingredients
This baked spaghetti casserole is made of thin spaghetti pasta, ground beef chuck, tomato sauce, marinara sauce, onions, garlic, green bell peppers, mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and Italian seasoning.
Marinara Sauce: In this recipe, you'll be using a pre-made marinara sauce with no meat added to speed up the cooking process. For that reason, it's important to use a marinara sauce that you enjoy as that can make or break a recipe.
Ground Beef: You can use any type of ground beef according to your liking. In this recipe, I used ground chuck 80% lean and 20% fat. Fat adds flavor and is going to render out as you cook it. You can always drain the meat to remove the excess grease before adding the other ingredients.
How to Make Store-Bought Pasta Sauce Taste Way Better
Behind every great pasta dish is a great sauce. Instead of dumping the store-bought marinara sauce into the spaghetti. I did some extra steps to make the sauce more flavorful.
- Flavor the sauce. This step involves browning the ground beef chuck with a small amount of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Italian seasoning, garlic, then cooking the aromatic vegetables until tender.
- Heat the sauce. Simmer the marinara sauce and tomato sauce for a few minutes to reduce the acidity and caramelize as the aromas are released.
How to Make Baked Spaghetti Casserole
Step 1. Cook the Meat Sauce
- In a large deep skillet or dutch oven, cook the ground meat and onion for a few minutes. You can drain the excess fat with paper towels if necessary.
- Add Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, diced green bell pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic. Cook until the meat is well browned and the vegetables are tender.
- Add marinara sauce and tomato sauce into the skillet. Simmer the sauce for about 7 minutes then stir in parmesan cheese.
Step 2. Cook the Pasta
- While you're waiting, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it's slightly undercooked.
Step 3. Cook the Pasta and Sauce Together
- Add the cooked and drained spaghetti into the sauce. Stir for about 1-2 minutes.
Step 4. Bake the Spaghetti with Sauce and Cheese
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Place half of the spaghetti mixture in a greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Top with half of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat the same process once.
- Transfer the baking dish to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
FAQ and Cooking Tips:
The pasta absorbs liquid from the sauce as it bakes. For that reason, you need to use a generous amount of sauce to keep the pasta moist as it cooks, without making the casserole too soupy or soggy.
To avoid mushy baked pasta you need to cook the sauce first then undercook the pasta (firmer than al-dented), and drain it really well.
You can store the leftover baked pasta in shallow airtight containers. Properly stored, it can last 3-5 days in the fridge or up to 3 months in the freezer.
Place the pasta in an oven-safe shallow bowl and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Check Out More Tasty Pasta Recipes
- Pasta with Mussels
- Easy Canned Clam Pasta
- Easy Squid Pasta with Marinara Sauce
- Cajun Chicken Alfredo Pasta
- Instant Pot Penne Pasta
- Bratwurst Pasta
- One-Pot Penne Pasta
- Canned Tuna Pasta
- White Sauce Pasta
Baked Spaghetti Casserole
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 cup diced onion
- 1 green bell pepper, (diced)
- 1 tbsp olive oil , (optional)
- 1 tbsp soy sauce, (optional)
- 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce, (optional)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning , (or use dried basil)
- 32 oz marinara sauce
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- ¼ cup shredded parmesan cheese
- 1½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese, (add more according to your liking)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Cook the ground beef and onion for 2 minutes (drain any fat if needed). Add Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, diced green bell pepper, Italian seasoning, and garlic for 5 minutes or until the meat is well browned and the vegetables are tender.
- Add marinara sauce and tomato sauce into the skillet. Lower the heat, simmer the sauce and stirring frequently for about 7 minutes. Stir in the parmesan cheese.
- While you're waiting, cook the pasta in salted boiling water until it's undercooked (firmer than al-dented) and drain it well. Add the spaghetti into the sauce. Stir for 1-2 minutes.
- In a greased 13x9 inch baking dish, place half of the spaghetti mixture. Top with ½ cup of the shredded mozzarella cheese. Place the other half of the spaghetti mixture and top with the remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is melted.