Eons ago, one of my very good friends texted me to ask for a baked spaghetti recipe. I told her it was on my to do list (my very long to do list), but I hadn’t gotten around to it yet.
I finally got around to it, and wish that I would have done it sooner. I love when I have flash moments of inspiration in the middle of cooking – those ideas tend to yield me great and surprising results. In this case, I was musing about how best to make this baked pasta dish stand out from all of the hundreds (probably thousands) out there already.
I spied some really large sandwich pepperoni in my refrigerator and knew exactly what I was going to try. I put two thin layers of pepperoni in the middle of the baked spaghetti, layering it through the middle with cheese as well. I baked it in a springform pan for an extra showstopping display- I love being able to see the pasta all around the sides. What a beautiful sight…
I took this over to our neighbors house for dinner the night I made it. There were seven of us and none of it remained at the end. I served it with my Balsamic Oregano Mushrooms and my Parmesan Pull Apart Rolls. It was a huge hit, with my neighbor even telling me that it was a better meal than any he had at restaurants recently. Music to my ears.
Baked Spaghetti with Pepperoni
- 1 lb spaghetti
- 3 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce
- 1 lb mild italian sausage
- 14 slices large (3-4" diameter) pepperoni
- 3 cups mozzarella cheese
- Preheat an oven to 375F.
- In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta to al dente. Drain. Set the pot back on the stove over medium-high heat.
- Remove the sausage from the casings. Crumble the sasusage into the pot. Brown, breaking it up in to smaller pieces using a wooden spoon or other implement. Add the sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the pasta to the pot and toss to combine.
- Add ⅓ of the pasta to the bottom a 9" nonstick springform pan. Arrange half the pepperoni slices over the pasta, then top with ⅓ of the cheese. Repeat.
- Top the second layer with the remaining pasta. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil, add the remaining cheese and bake for another 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly and "set", about 20 minutes, before cutting and serving.