Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Granny Annie's Spaghetti Pie

The way food can recall a memory is so amazing to me. I can take a bite of Rice Chex cereal with sliced bananas, and suddenly I'm back in my junior year of high school, it's 6:42 in the morning, and I'm having breakfast with my wonderful dad.

When I take a bite of this spaghetti pie, it's April 8, 2009. I'm in Boerne, Texas at one of my closest friend's houses just days before her wedding. Around the table are the rest of the girls that make up the Fab 5, and we're digging in to some of the best home cooking west of the Mississippi, thanks to the mother-of-the-bride.

I loved each savory bite so much so that I begged Kristen's momma for her recipe. She showed me how she had prepped extras for the freezer--ready to pop in the oven at a moment's notice for any guests who might be dropping by during "wedding week"--and shared what a great meal it was to bring to a neighbor or friend in need. (Talk about thoughtful and hospitable!)

She gladly went and scanned a copy of the recipe from her cookbook that I have kept to this very day (and have since made numerous copies of for friends). 

Take one bite of this dish--with its perfect spaghetti and parmesan "crust," its flavorful sage sausage that's cooked in a delicious tomato sauce, then its balanced layer of sour cream with sautéed bell peppers and onions, and of course the oozing mozzarella cheese--and you will be sold.

I was so eager to share Ann's dish with my peanut and tell her about Granny Annie's spaghetti pie. We had such a sweet time making it together, and this mom was THRILLED that it got her eating veggies and meat. She loved every bite of it, and I'm sure Kristen's baby girl, Anna (Ann's namesake!), will love it just as much when she gets bigger.

Someday you may be able to throw your arms around Ann and thank her for one of the tastiest comfort foods ever when you join her in heaven... Until then, get to know the sweet, warm, wonderful momma and grandma that she was through making this special dish for your loved ones.

Granny Annie's Spaghetti Pie
From the Loving Kitchen of Ann Smith

8 oz. spaghetti
2 eggs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. margarine
1/2 c. chopped green bell pepper
1/3 c. chopped onion
1 c. sour cream (preferably room temp)
1 lb. sage seasoned sausage
1 c. water
6 oz. can tomato paste
4 oz. sliced Mozzarella cheese

NOTE: The gist of the layers will be:
1) Spaghetti mixture
2) Sour cream w/ veggies
3) Meat in sauce
4) After baking, cheese (then bake to melt)

Heat oven to 350 degrees and set out the sour cream to bring to room temp. Break spaghetti in half and cook in salted water until barely tender; drain (or you can use up that leftover spaghetti!). Beat eggs. (Ellie loves doing this for me! I ask her to keep the fork touching the bottom of the bowl when stirring, and to keep the fork in/just above the bowl when she pokes the yolks and lifts them to break them up.)
Add Parmesan cheese (I usually use the green canister one) and toss with warm spaghetti. [See earlier pic of Ellie holding recipe.] Put spaghetti mixture in greased 10-inch pie pan.
Melt margarine in medium skillet; add green pepper and onion. Sauté for 5 to 7 minutes. Do not brown. 

Add sour cream to vegetables; mix and spoon over spaghetti. 

Cook sausage; drain off grease. 

Add to sausage, the tomato paste mixed with water (I usually do this in my liquid measuring cup. I fill it with water first and then dump in the tomato paste and stir with a fork.

Simmer for 10 minutes and then spoon over sour cream mixture.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350.

Then cut cheese into strips and arrange over top. (Try to cover the whole pie with cheese. I start with the slices that come out nice and whole and then fill in the gaps with smaller slices.)

Return to oven for 3 to 4 minutes, until cheese is melted.

Mmmmm delicious... It also makes wonderful leftovers (if there is any!!)

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