Duckie was my grandmother. To this day, I’m not quite sure what’s French about this recipe, but that’s always what she called it. This is a great thing to bring to picnics. It also lasts a while in the fridge, and gets better the next day.
Follow the recipe exactly. There’s a ridiculously small amount of pasta in it, but trust me, it’s just enough. Also, I’ve only used thin spaghetti to make this, though I think you could probably substitute angel hair with almost the same result.
A note on equipment. You’ll want to use a very large frying pan, as everything in the recipe basically gets mixed in the pan before it goes in the oven.
Duckie’s French Spaghetti
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
6 Tbls. butter
1/2 lb. ground pork (optional)
12 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1/4 lb. thin spaghetti
pinch of thyme
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large oven-proof casserole dish and set aside.
Step 1: Make the pasta
Boil the pasta in salted water until it’s *almost* done. It will cook a little bit later on in the oven, so this part is important to ensure your finished dish isn’t mushy. Drain it well, then pour it into your buttered casserole dish. Set aside.
Step 2: Make the sauce
While the pasta is cooking, get going on the sauce.
Melt the butter in a large frying pan and saute the pepper, onion, and pork for 15-20 minutes over medium heat. You want the pork to cook through, and the rest of the ingredients to brown a little.
Add the tomatoes, stir, and saute for 15 minutes more.
Lower the heat to low, and add the cheese in by the handful, stirring until it’s all combined.
Step 3: Combine it all & bake
Pour the sauce over the spaghetti in the casserole dish. Stir it to mix well, then sprinkle the top with a little salt, black pepper, and thyme.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour. After an hour, turn the oven off and leave the dish in the oven for another 15 minutes before serving. It should be a little bubbly and have a nice golden brown crust on the top.