Prepare the Spaghetti: In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the spaghetti until it’s just al dente. You want it a bit firmer since it will continue cooking in the oven. Drain and set aside.
Sauté Onions and Garlic: In a large pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic, sautéing until translucent.
Add the Beef: To the same pan, add the minced beef and cook until browned, breaking it up with a spoon as it cooks.
Make the Tomato Sauce: Add the chopped tomatoes and dried herbs to the beef mixture. Simmer for about 20 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Layering: In a 9×13-inch baking dish, begin with a layer of the meat sauce at the bottom. Follow with half of the cooked spaghetti, then spread the ricotta or cottage cheese over the spaghetti, and sprinkle half of the Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Repeat layers, finishing with the rest of the mozzarella on top.
Bake: Preheat your oven to 190°C. Bake the spaghetti for about 20-25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.
Serve: Allow the baked spaghetti to cool slightly, then garnish with fresh basil leaves. Slice it up, and serve warm.
This dish is the very essence of comfort. It’s hearty, cheesy, and satisfying – a perfect meal to enjoy on a chilly evening, or when you’re in need of some culinary solace. So the next time you’re craving something to warm your soul, remember the comforting embrace of baked spaghetti.