An evening in Italy – sorta

October 3, 2009 at 12:08 am 5 comments

The sensational aromas of garlic, tomato sauce and olive oil are still permeating in the air of my little apartment. Tonight’s meal was like a little trip back to Italy – sorta. (I say back because in the summer of 2008 I was privileged enough to take a two week Mediterranean cruise to Italy, Spain, France, Croatia, and Tunisia. It was an absolutely amazing trip! But lets get back to dinner, shall we…) My intention for tonight’s meal was a simple, traditional baked ziti. Yum. To my dismay, when I checked the pantry, all I had were farfalle (bowties) and spaghetti. LIGHTBULB! Spaghetti Pie!

I think one time I watched Giada De Laurentiis make a spaghetti frittata once, maybe that was my inspiration? Maybe I was just hungry. Either way, I decided to serve it was a lovely italian side dish – broccoli rabe.

The broccoli rabe – mehhhhhh – not the best. 1002091738

It’s a tricky bitter green that broccoli rabe. Tricky tricky tricky.

*hangs head in shame*

I was doing well, I really was. I knew that I needed to pre-boil it to extract some of the bitterness before I sauteed it in the garlic and olive oil. However, in my attempt to avoid browning the garlic too quickly, which I am absolutely notorious for, I kept the heat too low. You live and you learn I guess. I’ll get it next time.

My spaghetti pie,on the other hand was simple to make and the addition of some sweet italian sausage pushed it way over the edge of deliciousness.
Needless to say, I think it came out beautifully. Johnny went back for seconds…AND thirds. That always indicates a job well done.

1002091753look at the bubbly, brown, mozzarella topping 🙂

Italian Sausage Spaghetti Pie

  • 1/2 lb spaghetti
    (I’m a big fan of Ronzoni Smart Taste, 3x the fiber or regular pasta!)
  • 1 jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 1/2 c part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 c part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 lb sweet italian sausage
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes
    (all to taste)

  1. Cook pasta halfway through the required cook time, about 5 minutes.
  2. Brown sausage in a dry pan, set aside when cooked through. Slice, or remove from casing and crumble during cooking. You decide.
  3. (If the sausage begins to stick to the pan just add some water. I avoid using oil here because there is quite a bit of fat in the sausage already.)
  4. In a large mixing bowl combine partially cooked spaghetti, sauce, garlic, 1c mozzarella, and sausage.
  5. Pour contents of the mixing bowl into a 9in pie plate. Top with remaining  1/2c of mozzarella cheese and sprinkle with seasonings to taste.
  6. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. Raise the heat to 400° and cook 5-10 minutes more, until the cheese on top is bubbly.
  7. Let stand 10 minutes before slicing.
  8. (It’s going to be rough to wait, but I INSIST!
    If you slice into it too soon it will fall apart.)
  9. Mangia!


Entry filed under: Dinner, Recipes. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

A night off! Goodness, gracious, great balls of…falafel!

5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mommy!  |  October 3, 2009 at 6:55 am

    Jeni Lynn this sounds very yummy, and with the part skim cheeses, it’s kind of on the lighter side too! I bet if I made this with whole wheat or smart pasta it could be a nice dish in the winter.

    All of this on a college students budget, you are doing great and I am so proud. The whole site looks great! Love you Mommy!

  • 2. akentuckycreation  |  October 5, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Someone referenced my Spaghetti Pie through your site. I hope you will check out my blog. I have numerous recipes which save time and money. I also have Menu plans for the week posted. I plan the menu for the week around the grocery store sales. Hope you will visit and find something that you like. My “ten minute casserole” is what I survived on in college.


    • 3. twentysomethingandstarving  |  October 5, 2009 at 11:05 pm

      You’re blog looks fun! I may try out that low calorie quiche one of these days it sounds tasty :). I do my best to plan out menus for the week on my little budget, I’ll definitely check yours out too. Thanks for the feedback!

      – Jen

  • 4. val310  |  October 6, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Jen! Your blog looks great! I am always looking for ways to cook good meals without spending a lot of money. I might try your pie tomorrow!

  • 5. kormanmatthew  |  October 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm

    A nice, simplistic recipe that can be done in a college setting. I like. I especially appreciate the ad-libbing the recipe when all the ingredients weren’t available.

    I’ll be following your blog regularly while trying to accomplish similar goals on my blog, NJ College Foodie.

    – Matt


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October 2009

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