In my cooking repertoire are several standbys. One is mushroom and barley soup. Another is throwing a bunch of frozen Trader Joe’s vegetables into a skillet and stir-frying till they’re no longer frozen. Still another is this one: Spaghetti Pie, adapted from a Today show recipe.

I’m really loose with the ingredients and preparation, but this is pretty much no-fail, no matter what you put in. I make it without meat, but will not take offense if you add some cooked ground turkey, ground beef or cut-up sausage links.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and spray a 10-inch pie pan or cast-iron skillet with cooking spray. Cook about 12 ounces of pasta (whole wheat, if it’s handy) and set aside. Heat a generous slosh of olive oil and maybe a little butter in another skillet over medium heat. Add some chopped onion, garlic, a handful of mushrooms. When they start to smell good, add a couple cans of chopped tomatoes and maybe a can of water. Let it simmer for about 15 minutes.

At this point, you might want to add some chopped broccoli or spinach and maybe a can of drained and rinsed garbanzo beans or another kind of beans. Season to taste: salt, pepper, oregano, maybe a dash of cinnamon.

Whisk two eggs and stir them into the pasta, along with about 3/4 cup each (more if you’d like) Parmesan and mozzarella cheese.

In the bottom of the cooking-sprayed skillet, pour half the sauce. Add the pasta; pat it down evenly and add the rest of the sauce. Top with about 3/4 cup mozzarella. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes for easier slicing.

This is even better the next day, but there probably won’t be leftovers.


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