This baked million dollar spaghetti casserole is an easy, hearty, and budget-friendly recipe that is great to feed a family or a crowd. Although it tastes best just out of the oven, it is freezer-friendly and can be made ahead.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). Heat 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over high heat.
Once the oil is hot, add 1 cup chopped onion and 2 teaspoon minced garlic and cook for 2 minutes.
Add 1 pound ground beef and cook until its browned (5-7 minutes).
Add 24 ounces of marinara sauce and 2tsp dried Italian seasoning and mix well.
Check for salt and pepper and add more if needed. Remove the skillet from heat and set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add 2 tablespoon salt and stir well. Add 16 oz dry spaghetti and cook as per the package direction. Drain the spaghetti.
Stir the cooked spaghetti with the remaining 24 ounces of the marinara sauce.
Mix 8 oz ricotta cheese, 8 oz cream cheese and 2 oz sour cream in a bowl and set aside.
Cut ½ cup unsalted butter into thin slices and arrange half of it on a 10×8 inch baking tray. Choose a nice tray to make this casserole as you might serve it this tray itself.
Spread half of the cooked spaghetti on the tray evenly.
Top with the cheese mixture.
Spread the remaining spaghetti over the cheese mixture and top with the remaining butter.
Now pour the beef mixture over the spaghetti and spread it evenly.
Sprinkle 2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
Keep the tray in the middle rack of the oven and bake for 35-40 minutes. Set the oven to broil and broil for 2-3 minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Remove the tray from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Cut it into pieces using a silicon spatula and serve hot.
For a different flavor, you can replace marinara sauce with garlic parmesan sauce or use a mix of both sauces.You can replace ground beef with Italian sausages for added flavor. This dish can also be made using ground chicken or ground pork.You can replace ricotta cheese with cottage cheese too.If you are planning to make a vegetarian version, then you replace beef with roasted vegetables such as mushrooms, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, red onion, etc. Greens like spinach or kale will also work great.Want to give it a pizza flavor? Then add in pepperoni, bell peppers, onions, and olive too!