It was suggested by Ur-Spo that I post my Spaghetti Pie recipe. Of course I have to explain why I’ve been making it so read the explanation and the recipe’s at the bottom.
I moved to New York in 1998. I had been living in Cincinnati in the best apartment I’d ever had. It was a one bedroom with almost 1200 square feet of space. It had two fireplaces, a completely modern eat in kitchen, formal dining room, living room, walk in closet, hard wood floors, 13′ ceilings and more windows than you could imagine. The building had been built in the early 1900’s to house the stars who sang at the opera house across the street. The only real drawback to the apartment was that it was in the part of Cincinnati called Over-The-Rhine. This is the part of the city where the riots occurred several years later. It was not the nicest neighborhood but my rent was only 500 bucks a month and it included a parking space.
While I lived there I actually bought real furniture. My first new furniture. I bought a beautiful sofa, a new bed, and an amazing armoire/chest for my clothes. I had planned on beng there a while. Then a couple of events occurred and I decided to leave Cincinnati and move to NYC. I cashed in my retirement, rented a moving truck, hired some movers to load it and I was on my way. Before I left, I returned my grandmother’s dining room furniture to my parents because there was no room for it in NYC. What I didn’t know was that there was no room for my couch (it wouldn’t fit in the front door), and little room for the rest of my furniture. I moved from that apartment a year later to an even smaller space. I got rid of everything but the bed, armoire/chest, and a few other pieces. I moved again a year later to another small apartment And from there to San Diego to a normal size apartment.
While in San Diego I bought furniture again. A dining table, a sofa, a chair. Those things one likes to have in your apartment. And so for the first time since leaving Cincinnati I entertained people in my apartment. I threw parties that became the talk of the department. I cooked food, had flowers, supplied most of the alcohol. And sometimes there would be 40 or 50 people in my two bedroom apartment.
And then I moved back to New York. This time I refused to downsize. I spoke to my new roommate and told him that we would need a bigger apartment if he wanted me to move in. He looked at two apartments before I got here. And then we looked at my current place a couple of days after I arrived. (Without my furniture.) We walked in and said “We’ll take it.” For NYC the place is huge. The living room is large enough to have a living room, dining room and small office space for me. And it’s not cramped. And so we moved in. And have lived here for 18 months. And during that time, my roommate and I have talked about entertaining people but it never occurred. We were busy, we live too far uptown. And then our friends Brett and David came to visit. And we had them up for dinner. And we had such a good time that I swore I’d do it more often.
And now, long story short. And if you know me that never happens. I’ve started entertaining. I had three people over from work three weeks ago. A couple of friends from grad school and Oklahoma over on Monday. And this Monday I’m having 5 other friends over from work. Each time I’ve enjoyed myself more. It’s fun to clean the house. It’s fun preparing the food. It’s fun to have the place look great with the candles lit (around 30 or so of them) and warm and inviting. That’s what everyone says…our place is warm and cozy. It also helps that I’m a lighting designer because even without the candles the lighting is great.
The one drawback about entertaining is that I don’t cook. I have one recipe that I make over and over again. But it tastes great, everyone loves it and it has never failed me yet. It’s called Spaghetti Pie and it’s cooked in a crock pot. And so now, if you are still reading here’s the recipe for it. I promise, it’s easy to make and it always tastes wonderful. And it makes enough for leftovers.
8 oz spaghetti (I use around 12)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese (I use almost a cup)
1 pound ground chuck (I use about a pound and a half)
1 32oz bottle of spaghetti sauce (I use as much as I need to cover the previous layer)
3 cups cottage cheese (I don’t measure it, I just use enough to cover the previous layer)
4 oz mozzarella cheese (Once again I use enough to cover the previous layer)
Boil spaghetti 7-10 minutes. Brown the chuck. Drain spaghetti and cut up. Add eggs and parmesan. Stir well.
Pour 1/2 cup sauce on the bottom of the crockery. Layer 1/2 pasta, 1/2 cottage cheese, 1/2 meat and sauce, 1/2 mozzarella.
Cover, plug in and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.
That’s all there is to it. Now for some tips. If you follow the recipe exactly it doesn’t fill a standard crock pot. It’s only about 3/4 full. So I make extra and end up having three layers when I’m finished. I fill the pot all the way up to the top making as much as I can. According to the recipe it feeds 10 and with the extra that’s about right, although it doesn’t leave enough for seconds which I promise everyone will want. Also because it’s just spaghetti sauce you can switch it up. Sauce with meat, sauce with garlic, sauce with vegetables. What ever makes you happy. The one thing I have noticed is that it really doesn’t give off much of an odor while it’s cooking. So since I only prepare it when I’m having guests over, my roommate suggested sauteing garlic and onions on low in olive oil about 15 minutes before the guests arrive. It produces a wonderful aroma and makes everyone think you’ve been busy all day. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.