So this recipe was inspired by two things. First, my mom’s spaghetti bake. I remember she would make it pretty faithfully for Sunday lunch, have folks over after church and serve it alongside a green salad and garlic bread. I don’t remember quite how she made it but it looked very similar to this. I’m not a fan of casseroles but spaghetti bake, I loved.
My second inspiration came from this recipe. A friend from church brought this over for our family while I was struggling through my first and second trimesters of my third pregnancy. (Get all that?) It was delicious and really hit the spot.
So I thought why not combine both these recipes into one? So this is what I came up with. Now, you could add meat if you really wanted to but I think the vegetarian version is quite filling. Oh, I almost forgot. I asked my hubby if he was ok with this dish as leftovers for the next day thinking he’d miss the meat for two nights in a row. His reply? “I thought there was meat in here already?” Now, THAT is a good vegetarian dish!:)
Baked Spaghetti with Roasted Vegetables and Mozzarella
Recipe Adapted From: Giada de Laurentiis and Martha Stewart and Mom
- Coarse salt and black pepper
- 2 red peppers, cored and cut into 1-inch wide strips
- 2 zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 summer squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 yellow onion, peeled and sliced into 1-inch strips
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil + 2 tablespoons
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian herb mix or herbs de Provence
- 1 jar of your favorite marinara/spaghetti sauce (I believe the new size is now 24 ounces…but they still charge you for the 28 ounce size)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 pound dried spaghetti
- 2 cups packed basil leaves (from 1 bunch), torn if large
- 3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2 1/2 cups)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
On a baking sheet, toss peppers, zucchini, squash and onions along with 1/4 cup olive oil and a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables are tender, about 20-25 minutes.
Meanwhile, set a large stockpot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and only cook for five minutes (pasta will be crunchy). In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for about five minutes. Add marinara sauce and cook over medium heat about ten minutes (yes, the sauce will splatter so be prepared!).
Drain pasta and add back to same pot, add the heated marinara sauce, roasted vegetables, basil and half the fresh mozzarella and toss to combine. Transfer to a 9×13 lightly greased baking dish and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes until cheese is golden and edges are bubbling.