Spaghetti is an old time favorite in my family and probably in your family as well. It’s simple, convenient, and most importantly, affordable. The flavor of the spaghetti sauce is always important. One can buy any store brand spaghetti sauce and ‘spice’ it up by adding extra seasonings and other ingredients. My favorite brand of spaghetti sauce to use is Ragu. What makes Ragu so special is it’s endless variety of sauces.
As of a couple of years ago, my family had chosen my baked spaghetti over stove top spaghetti. Anything baked in cheese with a flavorful sauce is bound to be a favorite. Every time I prepare this dish, I’m showered with compliments and inquiries of how I made such a delicious baked spaghetti. The recipe does not occupy much of your time, and the ingredients are simple and affordable.
First start off by cooking the spaghetti and the sauce at the same time. Bring a lightly salted pot of water to a boil. Cook the hamburger meat and a half cup of onions before the spaghetti is placed in the pot. Drain the meat and onions in a strainer and then season for taste. Simple seasonings can include pepper, seasoned salt and accent salt. The water should be boiling at this point. Break the spaghetti in half and place into the pot (spaghetti broken in half is easier to cut and manage when serving).
(Here are some great onion choppers for you!)
Pour the spaghetti sauce into the pot with the meat and onions while the spaghetti noodles are boiling. (For the sauce I prefer to use Ragu Parmesan and Romano because it has such a wonderful flavor.) Let the sauce simmer on low for 6 minutes. While simmering, add 1 tablespoon of grape jelly to the sauce. Surprisingly, the grape jelly brings out a wonderful, tantalizing flavor to the sauce. Turn the oven on to 350 degrees F. The spaghetti noodles should be cooked in about 10 minutes. When ready, drain the noodles in the strainer and then place them back into the pot.
I recommend a glass baking pan for the baking part because its easier to clean, and the spaghetti won’t stick as much to the pan. Start layering the pan by first placing in the spaghetti noodles, then the sauce, and finally one 8 oz. bag of sharp Cheddar cheese. Two 8 oz. bags of cheese will be needed for this recipe to make two complete layers in the pan. After the placing the cheese on top of the second layer, lightly sprinkle it with pepper. Place the pan in the oven and allow 15-20 minutes for cooking time (or until cheese is slightly browned).
When the spaghetti is done let it cool for about 5-8 minutes. Corn on the cob and garlic bread would nicely compliment this meal. If you want, you could also serve a side salad before the meal. Smelling the wonderful aroma of the spaghetti while it’s baking will surely keep the family or guests in anticipation for a meal worth waiting for.
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