Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Baked Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushrooms

Baking spaghetti in layers—like lasagna—adds extra cheesiness to a simple pasta dish with a few fresh vegetables and ground chicken. I used thigh meat, but ground chicken breast works too. You could also use ground beef, but be sure most of the oil cooks out of the pan (or drain it) before adding it to the baking dish. You want the finished pasta to be a little firm, not soggy.

Serves 4

  • 6 oz thin spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 3/4 lb ground chicken
  • 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  1. Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente, 6-7 minutes. Drain.
  3. Heat a large skillet or pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the garlic, onion, and bell pepper and cook 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the ground chicken and mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook, breaking up the chicken, until just cooked through and most of the liquid is absorbed, 10 minutes.
  5. Add the crushed tomatoes, 2 tablespoons parsley, and oregano and re-season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool 10 minutes.
Garlic, Onion, and Bell Pepper
Chicken and Mushrooms Added 
Cooked Chicken Mixture 
Tomato Mixture Added
  1. Spread 1/3 of the sauce in the bottom of an 11 X 7-inch baking dish. Top with 1/2 of the spaghetti, spreading to an even layer. Sprinkle the pasta with 1/3 of the mozzarella.
  2. Top with 1/3 of the sauce and the remaining pasta. Sprinkle the pasta with another 1/3 of the mozzarella and spread the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella on top of the sauce.
  3. Bake, uncovered, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned, 20-25 minutes. Remove and let rest 5 minutes.
1st Sauce Layer 
1st Spaghetti Layer
1st Cheese Layer 
Ready to Bake
Baked Pasta
Garnish with parsley, cut into fourths, and serve.

Baked Spaghetti with Chicken and Mushrooms

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