This recipe has been all over Pinterest and Facebook for years. I have always resisted trying it or making a twist on it because it is so popular. I am an old-fashioned, easy, home cook. I am not about the popular. Although, I have wanted an Insta Pot to try but we are not quite there yet. My slow cooker and bread maker are good enough for now.
But, I finally broke down after spending almost a week inside looking at cooking videos, Pinterest, and cookbooks. Staying inside during cold winter days makes me want to make homemade bread and casseroles or stews every day! So, I am trying a no buy January – have to pay off those Christmas bills, and need to use what I have on hand. So, Million Dollar Spaghetti it is.
This is also a great dish if you need to have something ready to cook for dinner the next night and don’t feel you have time to put it together. It can be wrapped in plastic wrap and refrigerated overnight before cooking. Just remove the plastic wrap, cover with aluminum foil and bake as usual.
My daughter is trying to get away from eating too much meat. The original recipes I saw for this dish called for either Italian Sausage or ground beef to be added to the sauce. We decided to do a nice flavorful non-meat sauce for our dish. I used 6 cloves of garlic in making the sauce. It had a bright fresh flavor and made the dish a bit lighter. This is a hearty heavy dish. My son described it as lasagna without the flat noodles. He is correct.
So, you can make this however heavy or light as you want. You can substitute cottage cheese for ricotta. Not my thing, but some prefer the dish that way. You can use different noodles and different sauces. Mix it up, have fun!
I served this with a green side salad and a loaf of crusty hot bread for cleaning up any cheese and sauce left behind on the plate.
- 6 cups homemade spaghetti sauce, or 2 (24 oz) jars of pasta sauce
- 1 lb. spaghetti
- 1 (16 oz) container ricotta cheese
- 1 (8 oz) block cream cheese softened
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 12 oz (about 3 cups) shredded Mozzarella cheese (divided)
- sprinkling Parmesan cheese, freshly grated, and fresh basil, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 13″ x 9″ casserole dish by spraying with non-stick spray.
- Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package directions. Once spaghetti is cooked and drained return it to the pan and add 3 cups of sauce. Mix well to coat.
- In a bowl beat together the ricotta, cream cheese, dried basil, onion powder, and garlic powder until creamy. Stir in 1 cup of mozzarella cheese to the mixture.
- Spread 1/2 of the spaghetti in the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread the cream cheese mixture over the spaghetti. Cover with the rest of the coated spaghetti. Spread 3 cups of spaghetti sauce over the pasta. Top with remaining 2 cups of mozzarella cheese.
- Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove aluminum foil and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until top is browning and is bubbly.
- Remove from oven and allow to sit for at least 5 -7 minutes before cutting.
- Served topped with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil as desired.