Chef Juje

A messy adventure in learning to cook

Baked Spaghetti, Bobby Deen style

So it’s been a few days since I’ve last posted, largely because of an absence of success in the kitchen.

For one, I spent Saturday night (aka the only single-digit-temperature night so far this year) camping and although our campfire hot dogs were delicious at the time, they’re not exactly blog-worthy.  Second, I spent about three hours and twenty bucks on a butternut squash soup only to discover that I actually don’t care much for butternut squash after all.  Hrmph.

But today, Chef Juje is back! And armed with a camera!  Get excited.

I eyed this baked spaghetti recipe in, where else, my latest food network magazine.  I’m usually wary of dishes from Paula Deen (sorry, I just don’t like butter THAT much) or recipes that purport to be light but are full of fake foods. Fat free cream cheese? Ugh, why bother?

(Real Ingredients)

This recipe, though, is from Paula Deen’s son and to my surprise uses REAL ingredients.  I give a pass to part-skim mozzarella. For you big-picture-people out there, you basically place a layer of spaghetti, peppers and tomatoes in a glass dish, layer with mozzarella and cheddar cheese, repeat, and bake.

Baked Spaghetti, Bobby Deen Style


6 ounces whole-wheat angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
2 green bell peppers, diced
1/2 teaspoon seasoned salt
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
Cooking spray, for the pan
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


1.) Add salt to a large pot of water and bring to boil. When it starts to boil, put angel hair pasta in and cook as package instructs.
2.) As water is brought to a boil, heat a large skillet.
3.) Once water is hot, start adding ingredients one at a time:
-onion, cook for 5 minutes
-garlic, cook for 2 minutes
-sausage, break apart with wooden spoon and cook until brown, about 5 minutes
-peppers and salt, cook until veggies are soft, about 4 more minutes
-tomatoes, 3/4 cup water, basil
4.) bring everything to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. (BTB, RTS) Let cook until sauce thickens.
5.) Add spaghetti to the skillet and mix everything well.
6.) Spray 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Add half the pasta/sauce mixture. Layer with half each of the cheeses. Add the remaining pasta/sauce mixture, then layer with the rest of each of the cheeses.
7.) Cover loosely with foil. Don’t let the foil touch the cheese or messiness will happen. Cook for 20-25 minutes. Let rest a few minutes before serving (or tasting!).

Source: Adapted from Bobby Deen, Food Network Magazine

Helpful Hints/Things I Learned:

  • Salt is added to pasta water to bring out the flavor of the pasta. Pasta absorbs water as it cooks and will absorb salt, too, which is why you can’t just add salt afterwards and have the same effect.
  • Basil is best torn, rather than cut, to prevent bruising and to make them look more appetizing. (confession: I cut mine and then researched this afterwards.  Still delicious but next time I’m tearing!)

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2 thoughts on “Baked Spaghetti, Bobby Deen style

  1. I love that you post the things you learned here, too. That’s great for everyone else who’s learning! Check out a chiffonade cut for your basil if you don’t wanna tear it.

  2. I’ve seen recipes for baked spaghetti before, but I have never made it. I have every single ingredient on hand at this moment, so this is What’s For Dinner. Thanks!

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