If your family loves spaghetti but they're sick of the same old pasta and sauce, they are going to LOVE this cheesy baked spaghetti recipe! It's a cross between spaghetti and meatballs and cheesy lasagna so you've got a hearty layer of cheesy noodles topped with a tasty meat sauce and plenty of ooey gooey cheese.
Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, and Italian seasoning along with a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently for about 4 minutes or until the onions become translucent.
Add pasta sauce and stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
In a large bowl combine spaghetti noodles, cottage cheese/ricotta cheese, 1/2 the mozzarella, 1/2 the Parmesan, heavy cream, and a couple large pinches of salt and pepper. Use tongs to toss the ingredients together.
Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish and transfer the spaghetti mixture to the pan. Spread spaghetti in an even layer.
Top pasta with meat sauce. Then add the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.
Tightly cover the pan with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes or until the pasta is warmed through, the cheese is melted, and the edges of the pasta are bubbling. Broil for 1-2 minutes if desired to brown the cheese.
Let rest for 5-10 minutes, then cut into slices. Garnish with Parmesan and fresh chopped parsley and enjoy!
Dice the onion super small if your kids don't like them. They’ll cook down a lot in the meat sauce and then again in the oven and will virtually disappear - the kids will never know!
You can skip the ground beef in this baked spaghetti recipe to keep it vegetarian. We don't always have ground beef on hand, so sometimes I'll replace the beef with a few finely diced portabella mushrooms or I'll just skip it all together.
The grease from cooked ground beef is going to help to sauté the onion and garlic so don't drain it unless there is a TON. Remember that fat equals flavor and if you're using a local grass-fed beef, you're likely not going to end up with too much excess grease anyway.
Spray the tin foil with cooking spray to prevent the cheese from sticking to it while it bakes. Covering the dish with tin foil helps heat everything through, but if you don't spray it with oil it may end up taking that delicious layer of cheese right off the casserole once you uncover it. A thin layer of cooking spray will make sure no cheese is lost.
To test and see if the center of the baked spaghetti is warm, carefully insert a metal butter knife directly into the center of the dish for a few seconds. Remove the knife and carefully feel if it is warm/hot. If it's still cold, cover the pan tightly with foil and continue baking until warmed through in the center. If it's warm/hot then you know the casserole is warmed all the way through to the center.