Here is a recipe that will change the way you look at pasta. You’ll cook both the sauce and pasta together before creating a sort of casserole. However, this is one casserole that you don’t need to bake.
Nana’s Texas Spaghetti is an original creation of John’s maternal grandmother, Janie Cook Smith (Nana to the grandkids). When John and I first started dating, I would suggest that we have spaghetti for supper, and he would refuse. For the longest I thought that he just didn’t like spaghetti. Then we visited his parents. Turns out, he would only eat his grandmother’s spaghetti.
We sat down to a spaghetti supper, his mom served my plate, and I thought that I must have misheard what we were having for spaghetti. The food on my plate looked nothing like the pasta and bottled Ragu that my Mom usually served. There was a layer of spaghetti noodles, a layer of cheddar cheese, and a layer of meat sauce. And by meat sauce, I mean meat sauce – there were very few tomatoes. And it was spicy, with Rotel. But being a polite guest, I started eating and discovered to my delight that while their spaghetti was nothing like my Mom’s, I liked it!
On a later visit John’s mom taught me how to make the spaghetti, and it’s the only recipe that I have used since then. I lost the recipe that she wrote out for me in one of our many moves, so I’ve been making the recipe from memory for a few years. And, I must confess that I’ve tweaked it a little bit, adding the optional can of tomatoes, substituting gluten free pasta, and now making it with tofu rather than ground beef. But the recipe that follows is Nana’s original recipe as best as I remember it, and taste-tested and approved by John’s mom.