I don’t know about you, but I have this tendency to make more of things than I actually need. I inherited this from my mother (Mom, you know this is true. I have witnesses. Many witnesses who have happily gotten the leftovers.) And when I make too much of an actual finished dish, that’s not so bad. It means lunch for the Southern husband later in the week, and he’s not complaining. But sometimes I make too much of just one particular component, like rice, or sauce, or especially pasta. And since it was one of my New Year’s Resolutions LAST year to not throw any food away, and since I am on a 15 month run of actually KEEPING this resolution, I’ve gotten pretty dang creative about using up excess ingredients in ways that don’t involve dumping them into the dog’s dish.
Even if she IS sweet and adorable and keeps your feet warm while you are napping on the sofa. So here’s one way I have come up with to use up leftover spaghetti (or linguine, or really any kind of pasta that you make just plain too much of)…Spaghetti Cake! Not a cake that looks like spaghetti…a cake that actually IS spaghetti. Cake you can legitimately eat for dinner! Can I get an Amen?
Here’s the scoop. You need a springform pan for this one, so find it or borrow one (my mom has one!) and spray it with cooking spray. Now you are going to make a lovely mixture of eggs, parmesan and ricotta cheeses and a little oregano and salt and pepper. Give your leftover spaghetti a nice bath in that mixture, and then stir in some cherry tomatoes. (And while we are at it, if you have leftover veggies that you are looking to find a good home for, toss them in too. Chopped asparagus, peas, a little spinach…they would all be great in this.)
Now scoop out half of this, put it in the bottom of your springform, and lay some slices of mozzarella cheese on top. Think of the mozzarella as the frosting on your spaghetti layer cake. Now put the second half of the spaghetti mixture in the pan, and put the rest of the mozzarella slices on top. Bake it up, and then (here comes the hardest part) you need to let it cool for about 15 minutes to give it the chance to firm up and behave like a proper cake. When the 15 agonizing minutes are over, pop open the sides of the pan and slide it onto a cake plate and carry it triumphantly into your dining room.
And if you are not like me and actually DON’T make more spaghetti than one family could possibly eat in one sitting, you can go ahead and make spaghetti specifically FOR this recipe…just make sure you cool it off by running cold water on it before you use it. And then please come over and organize my refrigerator, because you are a more highly evolved kitchen being than I am.
Last but not least, since you are on a roll with dramatic cakes, I highly recommend a Triple Threat Cake for dessert (click here for that one.) After all…in for a penny, in for a pound. Eat cake!!
Serves: 8 slices
- 1 pound uncooked spaghetti
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 4 eggs, beaten well
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil
- I pint cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
- ½ pound mozzarella cheese (preferably fresh), cut into thin slices
- 1. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9x3 inch springform pan with cooking spray.
- 2. Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
- 3. Combine Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese, oregano, salt, pepper and eggs in a big mixing bowl. Pour in the beaten eggs and toss the whole thing together until the spagetti is well coated. Stir in half the cherry tomatoes.
- 4. Press half the spaghetti mixture in bottom of springform pan. Sprinkle with half the fresh basil, and layer half the mozzarella slices on top. Press remaining spaghetti mixture into pan, sprinkle with remaining basil, and top with remaining cheese.
- 5. Bake for 30 minutes. Let it cool for about 15 minutes, then release and remove the side of the springform pan and place the pie on a serving dish if you like. Serve by cutting it into slices.