While planning our meals for this weekend, I was thinking about a spaghetti pie. Something I could prepare ahead of time and then let cook in the oven while we visited with our friends. I remembered that I had a Spaghetti Torta recipe in my Simply Classic Cookbook from The Junior League of Seattle so headed there to come up with the dish.
I made some adaptations to the recipe, you could certainly do the same. It calls for Italian sausage, onions, mushrooms, and green olives - this is where you could make some changes. Other ingredients that came time mind were artichoke hearts, prosciutto, zucchini....whatever sounds good to you! I also topped it with cheese and used more spaghetti and sausage than what was called for in the recipe.
The pictures didn't come out great - but everyone thought it was delicious. The kids all ate it too....we did get some "faces" initially, but I think that mostly had to do with the fact that it just "looked different".
We also served a warmed marinara sauce alongside (you could make your own or buy a jar at the store) and everyone spooned some over their slice of the torta.
Adapted from Simply Classic Cookbook from The Junior League of Seattle
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons plus 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 pound spaghetti
1 1/4 pounds Italian sausage (I used sweet Italian turkey sausage)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup green, pimiento-stuffed olives, sliced
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
2 cups Mozzarella cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Butter an 8 1/2 inch springform pan. Coat inside of buttered pan evenly with grated Parmesan. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain and transfer to large bowl.
Remove sausage from casing and discard casing. Crumble sausage into a medium skillet. Saute over medium heat until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer sausage to paper towels and pat dry. Add to large bowl with spaghetti. Add onion to skillet and saute until soft, but not brown, about 5 minutes. Add mushrooms to onion and saute until mushrooms are golden, about 7 minutes more. If skillet becomes too dry during cooking, add olive oil. Combine onion and mushrooms with spaghetti. Let this mixture cool slightly (I did this because I was afraid to add the eggs to a bowl of hot food!). Add olives, eggs, Italian seasoning, salt & pepper. Toss to combine.
Turn half of the spaghetti mixture into the prepared pan and press it down. Cover with 1 cup of the Mozzarella cheese and 1/4 cup of the grated Parmesan. Top with remaining spaghetti mixture, press down, and cover with remaining Mozzarella and Parmesan. (The torta can be prepared a day ahead up to this point. Cover and refrigerate. Increase cooking time by 10 minutes if torta is chilled when placed in oven.). Bake, covered with foil, for 40 - 45 minutes until heated through. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Run a knife around inside edge of pan before unmolding. Cut torta into wedges with a serrated knife and serve with marinara sauce.