Spinach & Beef Spaghetti Pie

The garden has started producing again and my first spinach salad harvested from our garden plot just made my soul and my stomach happy. 

 

It looks like it will be a gangbuster season for spinach, so I decided to look at recipes that I could sneak a little – ok maybe a lot of spinach or Swiss chard – into.  The Farmer and the Mini Me like cooked spinach with lots of butter and a generous sprinkle of apple cider vinegar. I like it best in salads with hard boiled eggs, French dressing and a generous sprinkle of crushed Ritz crackers.  The Mini Farmer Boy has decided this spring “that he’s probably not going to like spinach … ever.” His words, not mine.

 

The food gauntlet was laid down with that statement. I think after serving this for super last week we can safely say the spinach score for Mom vs. Mini Farmer Boy is Mom 1, Mini 0.  I can’t wait for the next time he says that he doesn’t like something. I’m going for a nutritional three-peat on spinach with that kid this summer. I’m anticipating conceding a meal or two, because honestly I don’t have a lot of spinach recipes and I will probably make a meal or two that even I don’t like.  I’ll let you know how the next rounds go. 

 

I combined and adjusted two recipes for this dish.  I had developed a beef and spinach stuffed pasta shell recipe a few years ago and saw this recipe for a spaghetti pie and thought we should be able to pull it all together into something that everyone will like.  Seconds were had by all of us. I think it passed the family approval test. I should note that this is a best-when-hot-meal.  It warms up okay, but it loses a bit of the creaminess in the pasta layer after it sits in the fridge overnight. If you aren't a big family think about doing it in an 8x8 and freezing the second one or just cutting the recipe in half. 

 

The Groceries

1 Pound Ground Beef, well browned and drained

1 C Onion, finely chopped

½ T Minced garlic

1 C Sweet Peppers (yellow, red), finely chopped

1 pound fresh spinach, washed and rough chopped, you can leave the stems in your rough chop

1 container Ricotta Cheese

2 C Cottage Cheese

4 Cups Mozzarella Cheese Divided 1 C and 3 C

¼ C Parmesan cheese

2 eggs

2/3 C Milk

½ box of Angel Hair Pasta, cooked and drained according to directions (reserve 1 c of the cooking water)

1 Qt jar of your favorite Spaghetti Sauce – I love my recipe that was shared by my cooking friend Andrea, but when I run out of that I like Ragu’s chunky vegetable sauce

 

 

The Process

Sweat the onions, peppers and garlic in the ground beef       .

Add the spinach and sauté until it is wilted and the juices have evaporated.  If everything seems too dry you can add some of the pasta water.

Stir in the ricotta and cottage cheese and 1 C Mozzarella.

Set Meat mixture aside.

Beat the eggs into the milk.

Toss the noodles with the egg and milk mixture and Parmesan cheese.

Pack the noodles into the bottom of a greased, 9x13 glass baking dish.

Spread the meat mixture on top of the noodles. 

Top with the spaghetti sauce.

Bake uncovered at 350 for one hour or until the sauce is bubbly. 

Top with remaining cheese and bake for another 15minutes until the cheese is well melted, but not browned.

 

Let sit for 5-10 minutes and cut into squares to serve.

 

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