Skillet Baked Spaghetti {One Pot, 30-Minute Meal}

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

Don’t you think Mondays just call for an easy breezy dinner solution? Something quick and delicious that requires very low levels of brain activity and even lower levels of cleanup? Say, a skillet baked spaghetti made start-to-finish in one skillet, for example?

I do.

This dinner is a perfect weeknight what’s-for-dinner solution. It’s uncomplicated and incredibly tasty

. And while you might be cursing my name for the extra-full skillet (don’t worry, if you stir carefully, you’ll be juuuust fine), the fact that you only have to clean one skillet will have you thanking me later.

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

I have nothing against regular, old spaghetti. We eat it often, in fact. But everyone needs a couple spaghetti variations in their menu planning archives, wouldn’t you agree? And this is a keeper.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I carry a lot of love around in my heart for one-pot/one-skillet meals.

What To ServeDivine Breadsticks or Cheesy Garlic Bread
Steamed vegetable like broccoli or peas
Simple green salad (or something more fancy like this Gourmet Green Salad)

One Year Ago: Sweet Baked Ham {The Most Unique and Delicious Ham I’ve Ever Had}
Two Years Ago: Easter Dinner Make-a-Menu 2012
Three Years Ago: Crispy Oven-Baked Chicken

Skillet Baked Spaghetti

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 12 ounces spaghetti, broken into 2-inch pieces (see note)
  • 3 cans (15-ounces each) crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 ounces light cream cheese, softened and cubed
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet (see note above) that is oven-safe, cook the ground beef or turkey with the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium to medium-high heat, breaking the meat into small pieces, until the meat is cooked through, 5-6 minutes. Drain any excess grease, if needed.
  2. Stir in the oregano, basil, thyme, spaghetti, crushed tomatoes, water, salt and pepper. The skillet will be very full! You are going to want to curse my name. It’s ok. I still love you. If you stir carefully, you’ll be fine. Just kind of lift the pasta up and over to get everything well combined.
  3. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook, covered, stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking and break up the noodles, for 12-14 minutes, until the pasta is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed. It’s ok if it still looks quite liquidy as it will continue to thicken while it broils and rests. While the pasta cooks, preheat the broiler.
  4. Stir in the cubed cream cheese until it has melted and combined with the pasta. Sprinkle the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses over the top and broil until golden and bubbly, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Remove the skillet from the oven and let it sit for 5 or so minutes before serving.

Notes:

The easiest way to do this, says ATK, is to place the spaghetti in a gallon-size ziploc bag so the spaghetti is laying inside the bottom of the bag. Roll the bag up into a tight roll around the pasta and then using the edge of the counter, press into the rolled log of dry noodles, breaking them in 2-inch intervals. Unroll the bag and you’ll have lots of 2-inch segments of dried spaghetti in the bottom of the bag. Trust me, it’s a lot less messy and faster than doing it strand by strand. Also, don’t even think about making this in a skillet smaller than 12-inches (if you have one bigger/deeper, use it) because you’ll have major overflow issues.

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Recipe Source: inspired by a recipe in America’s Test Kitchen Best of 2009 (changed all the ingredient amounts to better feed our family as well as changing the liquid ingredients, some of the spices, cheese, etc.)