This Cheesy Baked spaghetti is traditional, but with a delicious twist! It is made super cheesy with the addition of American, and other delicious shredded cheeses, and a super flavorful sauce. It is perfect to feed a family, or a crowd!
Having the ability to cook for a large family of six is a must in my household. So this baked spaghetti recipe is in constant rotation. Even more important, being able to cook for my family of six, as well as any additional company we may have!
It is the perfect dish to feed a crowd. If your family is not as large, no need to worry. Just cut the recipe in half. You may still have leftovers, but leftover spaghetti is the best!
What you need to make the Cheesy Baked Spaghetti:
Here are the key ingredients you should gather prior to getting started:
- Ground beef
- Velveeta cheese- THIS IS A MUST for this recipe! Just trust me here…
- Onion and garlic
- Spaghetti noodles
- Seasonings: seasoned salt, garlic and onion powder, pepper, and red pepper flakes and sugar (which are optional, keep reading)!
Can I bake the pasta without boiling it first?
Simply put, no. Cooking or baking the pasta directly in the sauce is not recommended, as it makes the cooking process much longer. Furthermore, it is easier to control the doneness of the pasta by boiling it prior to baking.
What does al dente pasta mean?
Al dente pasta is the best way to cook any dry pasta. It is where the pasta still has a “bite” to it. So instead of being super soggy, it is still a bit firm, and has a slight chew to it. One of the main reasons this is important for this dish, is because the cooking process is going to continue when it is mixed with the tomato meat sauce.
How to cook pasta al dente:
Bring a large stock pot of water to a rapid boil. Be sure to add enough water to the pot to cover the spaghetti. Equally important- season the water with salt! Add about one to two teaspoons of salt to the water.
Once the water comes to a rapid boil, gently place the pasta in it. Using a large pasta spoon, separate the pasta by gently stirring it around. Turn the heat down to medium and cook the pasta for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, use a strainer to drain the water. Rinse it with cold water to stop the cooking process.
What do I do if the sauce is too thick?
Before draining the water the spaghetti noodles boil in, be sure to reserve at least two cups. This starchy pasta water will help thin out the tomato meat sauce. Thinning it out is important because as it cooks, it will thicken. Even more, adding the Velveeta cheese will cause it to get very thick.
Do I need to cover the pasta dish before baking?
Yes. It is important to cover the dish with aluminum foil before placing it the oven to bake. Covering it will help keep the moisture, as well as allow the spaghetti to continue cooking and absorb the flavors.
After 30 minutes of baking the spaghetti covered, remove the foil. Place the oven on broil mode, and broil the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes. This step is important to help brown the cheese, and create a nice crusty top.
- 1 pound Ground beef
- 1 small Onion, diced
- 1 clove Garlic, minced
- 16 ounces Tomato sauce
- 2 cups Water, that pasta cooked in
- 1 tablespoon Seasoned salt
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- ½ tablespoon Garlic powder
- ½ tablespoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Black pepper
- 1 teaspoon Red pepper flakes, (optional)
- 1 tablespoon Sugar, (optional)
- 8 ounces Velveeta cheese, cubed
- 3 cups Mozzarella cheese
- 2 cups Italian cheese blend
- 16 ounces Spaghetti noodles
- Enough water to cover and boil spaghetti
- 1 teaspoon Salt, for water to boil pasta
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring a large stockpot of water to a rapid boil. Put enough water in the stockpot to cover the spaghetti noodles. Add the teaspoon of salt to the water.
- Once the water comes to a rapid boil, slowly add the pasta. Use a large spoon to separate the spaghetti noodles while they cook.
- Reserve two cups of the cooking liquid and set aside. Once the pasta reaches an al dente texture (tender, but not soggy), strain the water and rinse the spaghetti with cold water to stop the cooking process; and set aside.
- In a separate, deep skillet, add the ground beef and cook over medium heat. Use a spoon or spatula to break the ground beef up into small pieces.
- After almost all of the pink is cooked out of the beef, add the onions and garlic. Continue to stir the mixture until all of the pink is cooked out of the ground beef.
- Use a strainer to drain the grease off of the ground beef mixture, (do not rinse the meat). Add the ground beef back to the skillet, and turn heat to low-med.
- Gently pour the tomato sauce into the skillet with the ground beef, and mix well. Add the reserved pasta water into the skillet and mix it together.
- Sprinkle in all of the seasonings, and sugar (optional), and mix until combined. Next, add the Velveeta cheese and stir until the cheese is melted into the sauce.
- Spray a deep casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Gently pour the spaghetti sauce into the dish. Next pour the cooked spaghetti noodles into the dish.
- Add half of the mozzarella cheese into the dish with the pasta. Using tongs or a spoon, mix the sauce into the pasta and cheese until combined well.
- Sprinkle the remaining remaining cheeses on over the top of the spaghetti. Add fresh basil or Italian seasoning over the top if desired.
- Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. After the spaghetti bakes for 30 minutes, remove the foil and set the oven to broil.
- Broil the spaghetti for 2-3 minutes KEEP A CLOSE EYE ON IT SO IT DOES NOT BURN! This step is to brown and crisp up the cheese on top of the spaghetti.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 526Total Fat: 28gSaturated Fat: 15gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 106mgSodium: 1571mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 34g
This website provides approximate nutrition information as a courtesy and for convenience only.