Sunday, August 5, 2007

Dutch Oven Baked Spaghetti

OK, I know that just sounds wrong. On a lot of levels. But, I tell ya, I tried it, and it’s possibly the BEST spaghetti I’ve ever tasted.

It’s kinda funny how I got there, though. I found a recipe for dutch oven spaghetti online somewhere. I don’t remember where. However, it called for boiling the spaghetti noodles first, then layering it with the sauce ingredients into a dutch oven for the final cooking.

But see, I thought about the lasagna noodles, and I realized that they don’t need to be cooked first. The liquid in the sauces, trapped under the heavy lid, cooks the noodles while it’s all baking. So, why couldn’t it do the same for spaghetti noodles, right?

So, I got some noodles, and I got some Italian sausage (never make a meat sauce with hamburger…), and today I came home from church ready to go for it.

But I’d lost the recipe!

So, I looked through all my notes, all my recipe files in My Documents, and couldn’t find it. I did a search of the Dutch Oven yahoogroup, but that also turned up nothing. I couldn’t remember where I’d found it it or who’d sent it to me.

So, I went out and did a search. I found a recipe on the website. This is a great resource, by the way. Still, I didn’t quite like the recipe. It did confirm that I could put in the spaghetti dry, however, so that was cool. But the base of the sauce was tomato soup! Yeesh…

So, I just started experimenting. I figured that spaghetti sauce was kinda like chili, right? There’s so many different recipes, how can you go wrong, really…?

Dutch Oven Baked Spaghetti to Die For

10” Dutch Oven
15 briquettes below, then 10-12 briquettes above and below each once the baking starts

  • ½ lb Italian sausage
  • One medium onion, diced
  • ½ cup sliced fresh mushrooms*
  • 1 stalk celery, sliced*
  • 2-3 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 2 ½ Cans tomato paste
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 Tbsp Oregano
  • 1 Tbsp dried chopped parsley
  • ½ Tbsp Cumin
  • ½ Tbsp Chili Powder
  • ½ Tbsp Paprika
  • 1 well-crumpled bay leaf
  • 3-4 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • Grated cheddar or mozzarella
  • Feta Cheese

I started by cooking the sausage, and browning the onion and the garlic as well. I did it over about 15 or so coals. That’s all I can really fit under my 10” dutch oven.

I’d figured that the sausage would make lots of grease, but I guess I got some that was more lean. There wasn’t much grease. I thought about adding some olive oil to it, and had my olive oil not been solidified in the fridge at the time, I probably would have done it. *Also, I would have added the mushrooms and the celery, if I’d had any. But I imagine that they would have made it taste even better.

While the sausage stuff was cooking, I mixed everything in the second group of ingredients and stirred it up in a bowl. I have to admit that the amounts I’m mentioning here are approximations. I put stuff in. I’m guessing at how much. Sorry I’m not more OCD about it. In fact, next time I might try it with only 2 cans of tomato paste. I do like a very thick sauce, but in some ways, it ended up too thick. And, actually, I started with only two cups of water, but as it cooked, I realized it would need more and added it.

I stirred the sauce mix into the dutch oven, over the sausage and onions, etc. Then I took about a half pound of uncooked spaghetti, broke the noodles in half, and added them on top of the whole thing, and set up the coals as specified above. I marked the start time on my watch.

About 20 minutes later, I opened it up to check, and stir. The noodles were getting loose, so they didn’t break when I stirred them up. I didn’t stir them in when I started the cooking for that reason. I like my noodles longer. I did break them in half, though, to make sure they’d fit into the dutch oven.

I checked it about every 20 minutes, with at cook time of about an hour. This time, the coals lasted pretty well, through the whole ordeal. I did have to replenish from the side, but not much. The last few times I checked, I fished out a noodle and ate it to try and see if it was done.

When it was all done, I brought it in and served it right away. Don’t want tomatoes eating off the patina of my oven, now, do I? Once it was in my bowl and ready to eat, I sprinkled liberal amounts of grated cheddar and crumbled feta.

Honestly, I don’t like to brag… (OK, I do…), but I think this recipe is the best spaghetti evar!


  1. Thanks Mark. How many does this serve?

  2. Yeeaah, I don't know, really. In the 10", with the amounts listed, I'd guess 4-6 hungry adults. But that's just a guess.

  3. thank you so much for the recipe, i cant wait to try it. out of the hundreds of recipes i've looked at today yours sounds : well it sounds right. im not a professional cook or anything but i do think i know what should go into spaghetti, and it is not stuff like tomato soup =)

  4. @Anon: Yeah, I've seen recipes like that out on the 'net. I like to cook from scratch as much as I can. I learn more and I think it's more fun. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Sounds very good. Can't wait to try it out at our family camping trip.



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