It is a priority during the busy holiday season to spend time with special people. But how many times have you said farewell to dinner guests or out-of-town company and realized you were so busy preparing a fabulous menu that you missed the visit altogether? This Italian Casserole, sent to us by Mrs. Harland J. Stone from Ocala, Florida, and published in the November, 1990, edition of Southern Living, is just what you will need for the chaotic days surrounding the holidays. You can assemble it a day ahead and chill overnight. Pair this casserole with a green salad and some warm bread, and you have a savory and satisfying meal. This also makes a great meal for a weeknight family supper, and leftovers are ideal for taking to the office for lunch the next day. You may even assemble this recipe in two smaller baking dishes, bake one for dinner and freeze the other for a later meal. Simply wrap it securely in plastic wrap, then aluminum foil, and store in freezer.
1 (8-ounce) package spaghetti, uncooked
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and well drained
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon dried whole marjoram
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon dried whole tarragon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 pound Italian sausage
1 large onion, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
1 (16-ounce) carton ricotta cheese
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley
How to Make It
Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain. Spoon into a lightly greased 13- x 9- x 2-inch baking dish; set aside.
Combine spinach and next 6 ingredients; spoon over spaghetti.
Remove casing from sausage. Cook sausage and onion in a large skillet over medium-high heat until meat is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain well. Sprinkle sausage mixture over spinach mixture.
Combine egg and ricotta cheese; spread over sausage mixture. Cover and chill 8 hours.
To bake, remove casserole from refrigerator, and let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake, covered, at 375° for 35 to 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle top with tomato and parsley.
Unbaked casserole may be frozen. To bake, thaw in refrigerator 24 hours. Remove from refrigerator, and let sand at room temperature 30 minutes. Bake, covered, at 375° for 50 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with tomato and parsley.