There’s something about the lightly burnished melted cheese that gets me every time.
Makes me just want to grab a fork and dive straight in, without waiting for a plate.
If it’s willpower you were looking for, you came to the wrong place. Resistance. is. futile.
It was only a month or so ago I tasted Spaghetti Casserole for the first time. Since then, I can’t stop making it. Voluptuous, creamy sauce spiked with cheese, fresh vegetables and pasta. There’s a lot of recipes for this classic out there. This is the one I keep coming back to.
I’ve made it with canned cream soups and with a homemade cream sauce, but you know what? In this particular case, I think the canned stuff wins out. It’s not like I’m eating it every day. Or twice a day. Honest.
Traditionally the casserole contains chicken, but I sometimes leave it out, and make the casserole vegetarian by using a cream of celery or cream of mushroom soup. Just bump up the peppers to 2 of each colour instead of one and add an extra cup of sliced mushrooms.
For the omnivore version, I’ve also used leftover turkey and/or ham instead of chicken. Switch up the cheeses to vary the flavours. Pepper Jack or Spitfire cheese can add real zing. Spaghetti Casserole is nothing if not versatile. And addictive.
Adapted from The Recipe Girl
Serves 4 generously
Preparation time 20 to 25 minutes
Cooking time 35 to 40 minutes
8 ounces spaghetti
1 tablespoon mild olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1 red pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 green or yellow pepper, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 can Campbell’s Cream of Chicken soup (295 grams, approximately 10 ounces)
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon oregano
pinch of salt
a few twists freshly ground pepper
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1 cup chopped, cooked chicken
½ cup grated Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese, or more cheddar
Preheat the oven to 350ºF (175ºC). Brush a large casserole with some oil or butter to help prevent sticking.
Prepare and chop all your vegetables. Put a large saucepan of water on to boil.
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, mushrooms and peppers until they begin to soften.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in boiling salted water until just al dente. Drain and set aside.
Stir the soup and milk into the vegetables in the frying pan. Add the oregano, salt and pepper. Stir through the cheddar cheese until melted.
Fold in the chicken and spaghetti. Transfer the mixture to the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle the Monterey Jack or Swiss cheese over top.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the casserole is hot and golden brown on top.
Serve with a crisp green salad and/or garlic bread. Leftovers keep well in the fridge.