Here's a great recipe for those days when you leave the house early and won't be back until dinner time.
Prep this skillet pasta in the morning before you leave – or even the night before -- and pop it in the oven when you're home from work, your kid's soccer practice, the last beach run of the season, or whatever activities have filled your day.
This is not exactly mac and cheese for grownups but it’s close. It has a little more substance in the form of yellow squash and cherry tomatoes, and it's bound together with eggs and cream. When summer squash isn't in season, you could substitute zucchini or any other favorite vegetable.
In the oven, the top becomes golden and crunchy with melted Parmesan and crisp bits of pasta. Pockets of oozy fontina punctuate each slice. Sweet tomatoes and summer squash round out the flavors. A hefty dose of fresh basil finishes it all off.
This is simple, filling fare. You could try it with different pasta shapes, or switch up the cheeses. Just be sure to toss the pasta with some Parmesan and salt and pepper before you add the rest of the ingredients to boost the cheesy flavor.
Make-Ahead Skillet Baked Spaghetti
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup (3 ounces) shredded Parmesan, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 (10-ounce) yellow squash, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups half-and-half
- 1 1/2 cups (about 8 ounces) cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 large handful fresh basil
- 6 ounces fontina, cut into small cubes
Preheat the oven to 350ºF
Cook the spaghetti:
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 9 minutes, or until al dente. (Taste a strand of spaghetti to make sure it’s almost cooked but not soft, which is usually about 2 minutes before the package directions indicate.) Drain in a colander.
Return the pasta to the (now empty) pot and toss with 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1/2 cup of the Parmesan. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some ground black pepper, to taste.
Cook the squash:
In a large (11- to 12-inch) ovenproof skillet, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the squash and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until tender. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and some ground black pepper to taste.
Mix it all together:
Stir the cooked zucchini into the pot with the spaghetti. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and cream. Add it to the pot with the pasta. Add the tomatoes, basil and fontina cubes. Mix thoroughly using tongs.
Transfer the spaghetti to the skillet used to cook the squash. At this point, the pasta can be baked right away, or it can be cooled, covered, and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
Bake the pasta:
Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup of Parmesan over the pasta. Bake until the top is golden and the pasta is hot all the way through, 40 to 45 minutes for spaghetti baked right away, or 45 to 50 minutes for spaghetti made ahead and cold from the fridge.
Cool briefly and cut into slices to serve.