What is “al dente”?
This is another one of those terms that you hear all the time but don’t know what it actually means. I counted myself in that group until a kind Italian woman explained it me. Al dente roughly means “chewy”. In terms of spaghetti noodles, it means you slightly under-cook the noodles. This recipe benefits from al dente because the noodles will continue to soften during the baking process. 🤓
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Baked Spaghetti with Italian sausage
- 1 lb uncooked spaghetti noodles
- 1 jar of favorite spaghetti sauce (16 oz)
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 8 oz mozzarella cheese (shredded)
- 1 lb Italian sausage
- 1 bell pepper (orange or yellow - chopped)
- 1 medium onion (minced)
- 2 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
- Cook spaghetti al dente. Drain. Save 1/2 cup of pasta water.
- In a fry pan, heat olive oil. Cook minced onions and garlic until translucent. (2-4 minutes). Add loose sausage. Cook on medium high until meat is thoroughly cooked. Break sausage into small chunks as it cooks. Drain excess fat and set aside.
- In a glass baking dish (9" x 13"), mix spaghetti water, yogurt, Italian seasoning, vinegar, and 1/2 of the spaghetti sauce. Add spaghetti noodles and mix until noodles are coated with creamy sauce.
- Add cooked sausage and chopped bell pepper. Mix together.
- Spread second half of spaghetti sauce on top of the noodles.
- Top with shredded mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until the outer edges are nicely brown. Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Cut into squares and serve on plates. (Serves 6 - 8)