Saturday, September 17, 2011

Baked Spaghetti AND Roasted Broccoli

Cooler weather has arrived, and I was ready with this dish of hearty Baked Spaghetti tonight. The kids and I ate it up - my husband's en route from St. Louis, but I predict he will eat whatever's left for breakfast tomorrow. He's good like that.

My favorite part of the meal was the Roasted Broccoli, which was surprising because up to this point in my 40+ years, I have detested any roasted broccoli I've ever eaten. Mr. Alton Brown and his roasting method have converted me. Maybe he (and I) will convert you, too.

There are two recipes here - so pay attention!

Baked Spaghetti
Serves 4

8 ounces spaghetti, broken up a bit
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
salt and pepper
Parmesan cheese
3/4 pound ground beef (I use 90% lean hormone-free ground beef - use whatever kind your family likes)
1/2 small onion, chopped
optional - other chopped vegetables such as peppers or mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
more salt and pepper
1 - 1 1/2 cups jarred pasta sauce
4 ounces (1/2 can) tomato sauce
1 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook spaghetti in boiling salted water for 8 minutes, or as long as the box says. Drain and rinse with cool water.

2. In a large bowl, beat the egg, milk, salt and pepper. Toss with the slightly cooled spaghetti (if the pasta's too hot, it will scramble the egg). Sprinkle with a little bit of Parmesan cheese and pour the pasta into a greased 9x9 pan or a greased deep-dish pie dish.

3. While the spaghetti's cooking, cook the ground beef and vegetables in nonstick skillet. Sprinkle with the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper and cook until the beef is no longer pink. Drain the fat. Stir the pasta sauce and tomato sauce into the meat mixture. Pour this over the pasta in the baking dish.

4. Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Top with the mozzarella cheese and bake 5 minutes longer, or until the cheese has melted. Let stand a few minutes before cutting and serving.

Roasted Broccoli
Serves 4
Technique courtesy of Alton Brown

1 head of broccoli, rinsed and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper
1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

2. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with oil, garlic, salt and pepper.

3. Place panko in a 9x13 metal baking dish. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 2 minutes. Panko should be lightly toasted. (Confession: I had to feed the cat during this step and I burned the first batch of breadcrumbs. Don't stray too far!)

4. Remove the panko from the oven and pour over the broccoli. Pour the whole thing back into the metal baking pan and put back in the 425 oven for 8 minutes, or until the broccoli is tender.

5. Alton says to toss the finished dish with 1/4 cup of grated sharp cheddar or Parmesan - I did not because I thought tonight's dinner was cheesy enough. He also says leftovers are excellent. I will see if he's right tomorrow.

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