Million Dollar Spaghetti

If I’m being completely honest, I’m kind of a pasta purist. What I mean is that I grew up eating pasta with my Grandma’s sauce and that’s it. No Fettuccine Alfredo. No Penne Ala Vodka. Just pasta with a smooth red sauce and a meatball.

So the idea of adding something like cream cheese to pasta sort of horrified me at first – I’m pretty sure my Grandma is rolling over in her grave at the mere thought. But I try to keep an open mind, so I gave it a shot. As it turns out, this was a very good decision.

This baked spaghetti comes out irresistibly delicious. The cream cheese adds a delicious flavor and when mixed with ricotta, brings just the right amount of creaminess. This combined with a meaty sauce and plenty of melted cheese on top makes this Million Dollar Spaghetti a total crowd-pleaser.

Cooking spray
1/2 cup finely diced onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound ground beef
2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, divided
3 cups marinara sauce, divided
1 pound spaghetti
Kosher salt, to taste (for the pasta water)
8 ounces cream cheese, softened to room temperature
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 cups mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ pan and set aside.
Spray a large saute pan with cooking spray and heat over medium high heat.
Add onion and saute for 3 minutes.
Add garlic and saute 1 more minute until fragrant.
Add ground beef and saute breaking up until browned.
Drain beef and return to pan. Season with 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning and mix well with 2 cups marinara sauce and set aside.
While the beef cooks, boil spaghetti in well salted water for 3 minutes less than the al dente time listed on the package.
Drain and return to the pot and mix well to combine with 1 cup marinara sauce. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine cream cheese, ricotta cheese, garlic powder and remaining teaspoon of Italian seasoning. Mix well.
Place half the spaghetti in an even layer in the 9″ x 13″ pan.
Evenly spread the cheese mixture over the top of the spaghetti.
Place the remaining spaghetti in a single layer over the top of the cheese.
Spread the beef and sauce mixture evenly over the top of the spaghetti.
Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. If you want it browner, broil for 2-3 minutes, but keep a close eye on it so the cheese doesn’t burn. Serve immediately.