I always think of casseroles as "50's food," the kind of dish you always find in those old Betty Crocker cookbooks and at big family potlucks. As much as I think of myself as a food snob, every time I make one of those old casseroles, I am reminded why they were so popular. This is comfort food at its best. Although most of the ingredients in this casserole are very basic, the addition of red wine and marjoram give this dish an unexpected flavor. And the baked cheddar cheese topping is just so darn tasty and comforting, even the biggest food snob wouldn't be able to resist. I like to make this quick dish on lazy Sunday evenings and then bring the leftovers to work for a fabulous lunch on Monday.
Slices of Warm, Crusty Bread
Spaghetti Casserole
Leafy Green Salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette
Glasses of Chianti or other Dry Red Wine


12 ounces spaghetti
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
a 15 ounce can of corn, drained
a 15 ounce can of tomato sauce
1/2 to 3/4 cup dry red wine
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
tabasco sauce
6 ounces cheddar cheese, grated

Cooking Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bring 4 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the spaghetti and cook until it is al dente (Al dente is the point just before the pasta is completely cooked through. It will be slightly chewy). Drain the pasta and set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil over medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion and pepper and cook until the vegetables become slightly translucent (about 10 minutes). Next, add the corn, tomato sauce, wine, marjoram, and as much tabasco sauce as you prefer; I usually add about 10 dashes. Cook the mixture, covered, for another 10 minutes to allow the flavors to blend together.

In a 9X9 inch casserole dish, place the drained spaghetti noodles. Pour the tomato sauce evenly over the noodles. Sprinkle the cheddar cheese evenly over the top of the casserole. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown. Let the casserole sit for 10 minutes before serving. Cut into quarters and serve.

Makes 4 servings



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If you don't have any spaghetti on hand, don't worry! Any type of pasta will work in this dish including short types such as penne or ziti.

Be sure to let the casserole rest at least ten minutes before serving. The casserole will hold its shape better if allowed to cool slightly before slicing.

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