Remember earlier in the week when I told you to save some of that cashew cheese for today? Now you know why πŸ™‚

This casserole is unbelievably yummy. On the bottom, there’s spaghetti tossed with a homemade stew-like tomato sauce. On the top, it’s sealed with a layer of rich cashew cheese and topped with sliced Roma tomatoes. All of this is baked until the cashew cheese is browned and the flavors have reached a whole new level of awesome.

It’s not quite a 15-minute meal, but if you make the cashew cheese ahead of time, you can throw it together in under 40 minutes and get two full dinners out of it – the leftovers are amazing.

Baked_Spaghetti

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms
  • 1 14.5 oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 handfuls fresh basil
  • 1 16 oz package spaghetti
  • 1 1/2 cups cashew cheese
  • 3 roma tomatoes

Baked_Spaghetti_Slice

Before getting started, prepare some of that cashew cheese I posted earlier in the week. You can make this just before preparing the dish, or up to 5 days in advance. You’ll need about 1 1/2 cups to cover the spaghetti. Recipe: http://www.oneingredientchef.com/cashew-cheese/

The Sauce

While you *could* use any ol’ pasta sauce here, I love this homemade version that I created specifically for this recipe. It’s thick and chunky and packed with veggies that create a wonderful stew-like consistency which works especially well in this dish. Here’s how to make it:

Prepare the vegetables. Dice the onion, mince the garlic, chop the bell pepper, and loosely chop the mushrooms.

Warm a tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper along with a little salt and pepper. Allow these to cook until the onions start to turn translucent.

Then, add the mushrooms, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes (including juice), red wine, and half of the basil (just tear the leaves into small chunks with your hands. Let simmer uncovered for 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, continue to simmer while boiling a pot of water for the spaghetti. Cook the pasta according to package instructions, drain, and return to the pot.

Give the pasta sauce a taste and adjust any seasonings as necessary. Then, pour it over the spaghetti along with another handful of torn basil leaves. Toss the pasta with the sauce and move on to the assembly stage…

Assembly

Preheat the oven to 350ΒΊ F.

Find a deep 9 x 13 baking pan and pour in pasta & sauce, using a spatula to press the pasta evenly across the pan.

Using a large spoon and/or knife, carefully spread the cashew cheese into a thin and even coating along the top of the pasta. Be gentle and try not to mix the pasta sauce into the cashew cheese too much.

Slice 2-3 roma tomato very thinly and add them in a nice pattern (I did 4 rows of three) across the top.

Spaghetti-Steps

Finally, place the dish in a 350ΒΊ F oven and bake for about 30 minutes, removing when the cashew cheese becomes firm and slightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before attempting to cut and serve.

The leftovers (there will be a lot of leftovers) can be refrigerated in a covered container for up to three days, and they make excellent lunches throughout the week.

Baked_Spaghetti_Top