Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti pie made entirely out of leftovers.

Spaghetti pie made entirely out of leftovers.

There was leftover spaghetti, leftover tomato sauce, and a small piece of meatloaf in the fridge. I thought seriously about chopping up the meatloaf and chucking it into the tomato sauce, which also had some meat in it, reheating the pasta, and putting it altogether the standard way, add a salad, and calling it supper.
Then I remembered my neighbor Wendy Hammet’s spaghetti pie. Wendy makes spaghetti pie from time to time for our weekly community lunch series. I remember the first time she made it, I thought, wow, this is some good. It takes a little more work, but it is a more luscious dish.
The recipe is really flexible and has much of the charm of lasagna, but less of the fiddling with layers. The idea is that the pasta, enhanced with eggs and sour cream, becomes a “crust,” really more of a bottom layer of a casserole. Then one adds a layer of tomato sauce and tops the whole with mozzarella. The egg and cheese or sour cream mixture ought to be fairly batter-like to fill in all the spaces in the spaghetti.
If you don’t have sour cream, or much of it, something else white, like ricotta cheese works fine with the addition of milk. I’ve been known to whirl up cottage cheese in the blender to make it more ricotta-like for dishes calling for ricotta. When it comes to white stuff, there is a lot of wiggle room. In a dish like spaghetti pie, I would be less likely, though, to substitute yogurt for sour cream unless I dumped some mayonnaise or a bit of cream cheese in it to take the sour edge off it and to make it a bit more unctuous.
Obviously, you can make this into a vegetarian dish by leaving out meat, or you can use ground beef, ground turkey, or Italian sausage. You can spice it with red pepper, or let it go along nicely with just basil, oregano, and garlic in the sauce.
You can use angel hair pasta, or plain old spaghetti. You can even substitute spaghetti squash, if you like it, and want to avoid carbohydrates or gluten.
So with no real recipe in hand, and making just enough for two, I greased up a little baking dish, added an egg to a cup or so of ricotta, and beat it up with a little milk. I arranged the spaghetti on the bottom of the dish and poured the ricotta-egg mixture over it, and swished it around a little, then I took the chopped up meatloaf, sprinkled it over the top of the spaghetti, added the tomato sauce, spread it to the edges, and since I didn’t have mozzarella, I used jack cheese. You could get away with cheddar. I baked it for about a half an hour. That’s it.
Spaghetti Pie
½ pound of spaghetti, boiled
1 cup of sour cream
2 eggs
¼ cup of milk
½ to one pound of ground meat, to taste
3 cups, or one jar, prepared tomato sauce
1 cup mozzarella, shredded
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, grease a nine-by-thirteen baking dish. Spread the cooked pasta over the bottom of the dish. Beat together the sour cream, eggs, and milk, and pour it over the pasta. Brown the meat and sprinkle it over the pasta. Spread the tomato sauce over the meat, and sprinkle the mozzarella over the top. Bake for thirty to forty minutes or until you see bubbling in the bottom of the baking dish and the mozzarella is melted.
Makes four to six servings.

Sandy Oliver

About Sandy Oliver

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working Waterfront. Besides freelance food writing, she is a pioneering food historian beginning her work in 1971 at Mystic Seaport Museum, where she developed a fireplace cooking program in an 1830s house. After moving to Maine in 1988, Sandy wrote, Saltwater Foodways: New Englanders and Their Foods at Sea and Ashore in the 19th Century published in 1995. She is the author of The Food of Colonial and Federal America published in fall of 2005, and Giving Thanks: Thanksgiving History and Recipes from Pilgrims to Pumpkin Pie which she co-authored with Kathleen Curtin. She often speaks to historical organizations and food professional groups around the country, organizes historical dinners, and conducts classes and workshops in food history and in sustainable gardening and cooking. Sandy lives on Islesboro, an island in Penobscot where she gardens, preserves, cooks and teaches sustainable lifeways.