This Pastelón de Espaguetis (Spaghetti Casserole) is a whole meal in itself and a very delicious one. It is also the perfect potluck dish.
Years ago we went on a memorable trip around Italy. Food was, of course, the highlight of a trip of a lifetime. We learned to love and appreciate Italian food even more. And we learned that many of the dishes loosely inspired by their cuisine will probably give any decent Italian a stroke.
We'll beg for their forgiveness while we thoroughly enjoy this Pastelón de Espagueti (Spaghetti Casserole), and then go for seconds.
Though not the most common Dominican casserole, this is an old family tradition of mine. This tasty dish can be served as a side dish to your favorite grilled fish or meat, and it is also perfect as a potluck dish.
The only change I have made to the family recipe is the addition of basil, one of my favorite herbs and that complements this dish very well.
Pastelón de Espaguetis Recipe (Spaghetti Casserole)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 lb [0.23 kg] of spaghetti or short pasta of your choice
- 2 teaspoons of salt (or more, to taste), divided
- 12 very ripe tomatoes , peeled and diced
- 1 pinch of oregano
- 3 tablespoons of basil finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 bell pepper diced into very small cubes
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 1/2 cup of capers
- 1/2 cup of pitted olives , cut into slices
- 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 teaspoon of pepper (or more, to taste)
- A few basil leaves for decoration
- 1/2 cup of grated Mozzarella cheese
- Boil the pasta al dente, adding a teaspoon of salt to the water.
- In a heavy saucepan heat the remaining oil over low heat.
- Cook and stir the tomatoes, oregano, chopped basil, garlic and bell peppers over low heat until the tomatoes are tender.
- Add water and tomato sauce.
- Simmer over low heat for 5 minutes. Reserve half of the tomato sauce for serving.
- Mix in capers and olives with the tomato sauce.
- Add parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add the spaghetti to the tomato sauce and mix well.
- Pour in the pasta into a 6" [15 cm] non-stick mold. Lightly press with a fork to compact. Cover with the mozzarella.
- Heat oven to 300 °F [150 °C].
- Bake covered with aluminum foil for 20 minutes. Cool down for 5 minutes before removing from the pan.
- Garnish with basil and the tomato sauce you had reserved. Serve with green salad.