I very nearly didn’t post this recipe because it’s not what I would call “light.” Here’s how it came about: last week when I was in the mood for fall fare, I phoned my girlfriend Suzi and asked her what comforting recipe she could recommend. Suzi and her husband eat very healthfully about 98% of the time and I get lots of healthy recipe ideas from her.
She said that she had just fixed this baked spaghetti from the Simply Recipes web site, and that she and Terry had been enjoying it all week. Suzi is smart — she knows full well that man cannot live on light alone. She also tweaked the recipe to lighten it up a bit, using turkey sausage instead of pork and adding extra mushrooms.
I made some of my own adaptations as well. If you’d like to take a peek at the original recipe, click here. Otherwise, following is a somewhat indulgent but not wholly bad-for-you casserole for our cooler weather. Since it can be sliced into squares it’s also easy to serve as leftovers.
When it comes to creamy, comforting pasta, this hits the spot, and it reminds me of the food my mom cooked back in the 1960’s when I was a kid, minus the Velveeta and the green canister of Kraft Parmesan cheez.
1/2 lb. thin spaghetti
1/2 lb. turkey Italian sausage (2 links)
1 onion, chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms, sliced (add more if you like mushrooms)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
24 ounces jarred marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 cup chopped parsley
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 egg and 1 egg white, beaten
1 cup low-fat ricotta cheese
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Cook pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water until just al dente. Drain in colander and rinse with cold water.
In a large nonstick skillet, saute turkey sausage until lightly browned, breaking up with spoon as it cooks. Remove sausage to a plate and add onion and mushrooms to skillet; saute until onion is softened. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook another minute.
Add marinara sauce and 1 1/2 cups water to skillet and add the sausage back into the pan. Add Italian seasoning and chopped parsley and simmer gently for about 10 minutes while you finish preparing the pasta.
Place the cooled pasta in a large bowl and add the egg and egg white and the grated Parmesan cheese and toss to combine.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick spray. Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce on bottom of pan. Spread 1/2 of the pasta on top of the sauce. Cover with 1/2 of the remaining sauce and dot evenly with all of the ricotta cheese. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella on top of the ricotta. Layer with remaining pasta, remaining sauce and remaining mozzarella.
Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 20 minutes, or until top is lightly browned. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes before cutting into squares and serving.
WW PP Per serving: 9