I’m really proud of this Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti, and I think you’re gonna love it. I’ve been working on the recipe for a while, but only made it for the first time yesterday. It’s pretty different from most others I’ve seen online, as it doesn’t contain ricotta, cream cheese, or cottage cheese. I’m not a fan of any of those really – except cream cheese but mainly smeared on bagels – so I opted for a variation on the traditional Bechamel or Mornay sauce, a white sauce that I added rich, salty aged Parmesan and Pecorino Romano too.
It’s very saucy, also unlike most other recipes I’ve seen online, but it worked for us. I polled my Instagram audience on whether they like it best layered or mixed up, and mixed up was the winner, but I’m me so I decided to do a version of both! It’s not completely separated like lasagna, but there is a cheesy middle as well as a cheesy top.
Although I’ve only made this once (so far), the recipe should be super flexible. You can opt to reduce the amount of sauce, skip the eggs, change up the cheeses, and mix everything together and just put cheese on top instead of layering. Do what feels right for the folks you’re feeding and you can’t go wrong. I’m available for questions if you need anything.
Three Cheese Baked Spaghetti Ingredients
Feel free to jump to the full recipe, but here are useful notes about the ingredients you will need to make this Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti recipe:
- Homemade Meat Sauce: The Homemade Meat Sauce recipe I posted this morning is the star of this recipe (and pretty much any recipe I use it in around here). Yes, you can substitute your favorite sauce instead but I bet if you try it as written you’ll probably never wanna use another one again.
- Spaghetti: I mean, it’s called Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti after all.
- Eggs: The eggs serve as a binder to encourage things to stay stable after a short rest, but also add a silky texture to the noodles, recognizable even with all the sauces and cheese.
- Mozzarella, Aged Parmesan, Pecorino Romano: I used fresh mozzarella that I’d soaked on paper towels for a while before adding. I grated half of it and sliced the other half, using the slices for the center layer and the grated for the topping. I considered adding cheddar for more color but decided to stick with these. I will do that in the future tho.
- Olive oil: Use a good quality olive oil for mixing with the eggs especially. We’ll use a bit more only to grease the baking dish.
- Unsalted butter, all-purpose flour, whole milk We’ll use these to build the base of our white sauce.
- Nutmeg: Just a pinch! It’s traditional in Bechamel, so I always add it. It really elevates the creaminess. I noticed it, even with all the other components in this Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti.
- Bay leaf: Steeping this in the milk lightens the flavor and brightens the white sauce.
- Garlic salt, black pepper: We use these to season the egg mixture that will coat the spaghetti noodles.
- Kosher salt: To taste, as always.
- Equipment: I always use my Pyrex Deep-Dish 9×13 Lasagna dish for baked pasta. It’s large and very forgiving to me because I always add more sauce and meat than called for. Here’s everything I used and some alternative options, too:
How to Make Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti
Full instructions are included in the recipe below, but here is a basic overview of what you’ll need to do, along with some important tidbits to help you make the most of this Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti recipe:
- Prepare to bake. Preheat your oven to 375°F and place an oven rack on the center rack. Lightly oil the inside of a 9×13 baking dish with olive oil, or cooking spray. You don’t want the cheese to glue itself to the sides.
- Start the Bechamel. In a small saucepan over medium heat, add your whole milk and the bay leaf. Heat the milk, stirring occasionally, just until small bubbles form around the edges of the pan, then remove from heat and cover. Place another saucepan – a medium-sized one this time – over medium heat and add the butter. When the butter has completely melted and starts to foam a bit sprinkle in the flour. Stir the flour constantly as it cooks until it thickens into a paste, which will take about 2 minutes. You’re not looking for any color like you would a roux for gravy, so keep the heat on the low side.
HIMit. Remove the bay leaf and stir the hot milk into the flour paste. Stir in the salt, pepper, and nutmeg then reduce the heat to low. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes, then remove from heat. Gently stir in the Parmesan and Pecorino Romano (just the amounts listed under White Sauce) with a silicone spatula until it’s melted, then put a lid on it and set the pot aside. It will thicken but only slightly, it’s not gravy.
- Spaghetti time. Prepare your spaghetti noodles to package directions (if they don’t say to salt the pasta water, then I am telling you to salt the pasta water). While the noodles are cooking beat the two eggs together with the olive oil, garlic salt, black pepper, and grated parmesan and pecorino romano (just the amounts listed under spaghetti). Once the noodles are cooked through and drained, combine them with the egg mixture. Fold them together thoroughly but gently, so you don’t break up the spaghetti too much (unless you’re into that). Follow that up with two cups of the warm meat sauce, still being gentle unless you like short spaghetti!
- Build the Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti. Ladle some – about a cup – of the sauce into the prepared baking dish and spread it around. Add half of the spaghetti, spreading it out into an even layer, then ladle half of the white sauce over it. Follow that with half of the mozzarella, covering everything.
- Repeat! Pour the rest of the meat sauce, reserving a few tablespoons, over the mozzarella layer. Follow that by the remaining spaghetti, white sauce, and all of the remaining mozzarella. Finish it up by drizzling the reserved meat sauce over the top. I also sprinkle a little finishing pepper blend over the top too, available soon!
- Bake the Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti. Tear off a piece of foil large enough to cover and oil one side of it. Cover the spaghetti with the foil oil side down and wrap it tightly around the edges. Place the baking dish on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking for 20-25 more minutes until browned and bubbly. No too long, or the cheese will separate! Remove and let rest for 15 minutes, then serve in squares, like lasagna. Dassit! I couldn’t wait so I ate a bowl of it piping hot before it had a chance to set up.
If you try this Three-Cheese Baked Spaghetti recipe I hope you’ll return and leave a rating to let me and everyone else know what you thought of it! Here are the Pinterest graphics: