Spaghetti Pie Casserole

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Spaghetti pie is traditionally made with eggs in the noodle base. I thought it looked like a fun dinner to make for my family instead of our usual spaghetti supper. My variation uses ricotta cheese, sour cream, butter and parmesan cheese in the base. You can use your favourite pasta sauce in this recipe, whether that is meat-based or a marinara. I used a meat sauce for this and have included the recipe for it.

Spaghetti Pie Casserole

Make the Meat Sauce:

  • 2 lbs ground beef browned in 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (796ml)
  • 1 can tomato sauce (680ml)
  • 1 small can tomato paste (156 ml)
  • 2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • pinch crushed chili flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Brown the ground beef, then add in the garlic and saute. Add in the tomato products, sugar, spices and the salt and pepper. If you find the sauce a bit too thick, you can add in 1 cup water. Simmer for 20 minutes.

Noodle Base:

  • 1 and 1/2 pounds (approx 700g) spaghetti noodles, cooked al dente
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (475g)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cups of the meat sauce

Cook the noodles al dente, according to package directions. Drain and then mix in the ricotta cheese, butter, parmesan cheese, sour cream, salt and pepper. Once mixed, add in 2 cups of the meat sauce and mix well. Pour into a 9 by 13 pan or other large casserole dish. Top with most of the remaining sauce, saving some to serve on the side. Then top with 2 cups grated mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

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Homemade Eggless Pasta

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We are big fans of reality cooking shows in this house and often on the shows they make homemade pasta. Homemade pasta generally contains eggs so I did some googling to find out if there were any eggless pasta recipes. I found one on the Food network site by Mario Batali. (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/mario-batali/eggless-pasta-recipe.html) There was only one review so let’s just call this an experiment. The recipe calls for equal parts semolina flour and all-purpose flour. As this was experimental and I do NOT have a pasta roller we decided the easiest thing to do would be to make lasagna noodles and divide the dough to make equal sheets to do a very thick 4 layer 8 by 8 lasagna. Also, I halved his recipe which makes it much easier to knead together. His recipe does not seem to have enough water in it so I had to increase that a bit and also his recipe says to let it rest 10 minutes before rolling. You really should wait at least an hour and then it will be much easier to roll out. I found Bob’s Red Mill Semolina flour at our health food store. This made a yummy lasagna!

Eggless Pasta

  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup lukewarm water

Combine the flours and pour onto a cutting board or parchment paper. Make a well and gradually add in the water, mixing as you go with a fork. Then when you think you have enough water, knead until the dough feels soft but not sticky. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for at least one hour.

Use either a rolling pin or a pasta roller to make the pasta shapes you want. Without a pasta roller the easiest to do is lasagna sheets. If making lasagna, you can simply divide the ball into 4 equal pieces and roll each quarter out into a rectangle. I cut each rectangle in 3 and ended up with 12 pieces. I did not pre-cook the noodles, I just layered them with lots of sauce, veggies and cheese and baked it in the oven. Other shapes can be boiled in salted water for 5-8 minutes depending on the thickness.

Before Rolling:

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After rolling:

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Pizza Dough

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Pizza Dough should NOT have eggs in it! But crazily enough some of our local pizzerias have eggs in their pizza dough. I have made my dough based on The Cake Boss’s pizza dough recipe for the past couple of years and I really like it. I often add a couple tablespoons of ground flax seed in it and sometimes even substitute some of the white flour with whole wheat. When I add whole wheat I add a bit more yeast to the mixture. Basic Pizza Dough In a large mixing bowl:

  • 2 cups lukewarm water
  • 2 tsp traditional active dry yeast

Sprinkle the yeast over top of the warm water and let sit until yeast is proofed. Then add: 

  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp olive oil

Mix with dough attachment or by hand. If by hand you may want to gradually add in the flour. Then gradually add:

  • 1 more cup of flour as needed until the dough is starting to pull away from the bowl or is only slightly sticky

Mix again with dough attachment or knead the last cup of flour in by hand. You should mix or knead this for a few minutes. Dough should be soft but slightly sticky. Let proof for about 1 hour. Divide into pizza pans greased with olive oil. Let raise another 30 minutes. Top as desired. I usually bake mine preferably on the bottom rack of my oven at 425 degrees.  This makes 2 large really thick crust pizzas or 3 large thin crust pizzas.

Meatballs

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A lot of meatball recipes out there contain eggs. My mother used to make her meatballs with eggs and chances are your mother did too. I use this base meatball recipe for different meatball dishes. If I make them for Italian dishes I also add herbs and Parmesan cheese to give them extra flavor. The bread soaked in milk in this recipes helps hold them together as well as help them stay moist. I like popping them into the oven to simplify things instead of frying.

Meatballs

For every 2 lbs of ground beef:

  • 2 slices of bread soaked in milk  (Drain any excess milk but keep fairly wet and break up as small as you can)
  • 1 small grated onion
  • 2 cloves garlic grated
  • salt and pepper

Mix only until incorporated well and form into balls. I usually do between 1 and 2 inch size balls. For leaner ground beef I drizzle them with olive oil before baking.

Bake 400 degrees F for approximately 20 to 25 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs (15 for really small meatballs).

Add to sauces such as Sweet and Sour or Italian.