Gail Simmons’ Epic Spaghetti Pie
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Spaghetti pie is a big affair, impressive in both stature and ingredients — perfect for a hungry crowd.
Featured on the cover of her beautiful new cookbook, Bringing It Home: Favorite Recipes From A Life of Adventurous Eating, Gail Simmons’ Spaghetti Pie made with broccoli and Italian sausage is, according to my husband, one of the best things I have ever made. EVER. I suppose I could take offense since it’s not even one of my own recipes but I totally agree with him. It’s similar to sausage lasagna or baked ziti with sausage, only way more impressive to serve. Fair warning: the recipe calls for a jaw-dropping amount of cheese. All I can tell you is that it’s worth it.
Gail writes, “Spaghetti pie is a big affair, impressive in both stature and ingredients, and meant to serve a hungry crowd. You don’t have to wait for your next party to make it, though. If you don’t have enough eaters to tackle it, there’s a bonus: Slices of the savory pie make the best leftovers of all time.” The recipe requires a springform pan, which is a good investment if you don’t have one, but you could easily use a large baking dish and serve the “pie” lasagna-style if need be.
What you’ll need to make spaghetti pie
How to make spaghetti pie
To begin, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the broccoli and 1 tablespoon of water and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the sausage.
Cook, breaking the meat into small bits, until cooked through, about 6 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute.
Then add the crushed drained tomatoes and 1/4 teaspoon salt. (Note that it’s best to use canned whole tomatoes and crush them yourself over diced tomatoes, since diced canned tomatoes contain a firming agent, calcium chloride, that makes them slow to break down.)
Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping any bits from the pan, until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti just until very al dente, 7 to 8 minutes (look for a white spot in the center when you bite into a strand). Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and reserve the pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, pepper, and 3/4 teaspoon salt.
Combine the spaghetti and milk mixture in the pot; add in the sausage-broccoli mixture, cheddar, fontina, and 1 cup of the Parmesan.
Stir until well combined.
Transfer the pasta mixture to a springform pan wrapped in aluminum foil (wrapping the pan in foil protects against leakage). Using a spatula, smooth the top.
Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden and bubbling, about 35 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle the pie with the sage and remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan.
Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat until the cheese is golden, 2 to 3 minutes.
Remove from the oven and run a knife around the inside of the pan. Let the pie rest for about 10 minutes, then release and remove the sides of the pan. Cut the pie into slices and serve warm.
You may also like
- Baked Ziti with Sausage
- Mac and Cheese
- Sausage Lasagna
- Baked Penne with Spinach, Ricotta, and Fontina
- Julia Turshen’s “A Nice Lasagna”
Gail Simmons' Epic Spaghetti Pie
Spaghetti pie is a big affair, impressive in both stature and ingredients — perfect for a hungry crowd.
- Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- ¾ lb broccoli or broccoli rabe, trimmed, stems and florets chopped into ¼-inch pieces (about 2 ½ cups)
- 1 lb hot or sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained, tomatoes crushed by hand
- Kosher salt
- 1 lb dried spaghetti
- ¾ cup whole milk (I substituted half & half)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
- 2½ cups (8 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 2½ cups (8 oz) grated fontina cheese
- 1½ cups (3 oz) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
- Special equipment: 9½-inch springform pan
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Preheat the oven to 425ºF and set a rack in the middle position. Butter a 9 ½-inch springform pan. Tightly wrap the bottom of the pan with a large sheet of aluminum foil, crimping the foil against the outer edges to tightly seal.
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli and 1 tablespoon of water and cook until the broccoli is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the sausage and cook, breaking the meat into small bits, until cooked through, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute, then add the crushed drained tomatoes and ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and scraping any bits from the pan, until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
- Add salt to the boiling water and cook the spaghetti just until very al dente, 7 to 8 minutes (look for a white spot in the center when you bite into a strand). Drain the pasta (do not rinse) and reserve the pot.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, pepper, and ¾ teaspoon salt. Combine the spaghetti and milk mixture in the pot; add in the sausage-broccoli mixture, cheddar, fontina, and 1 cup of the Parmesan; stir until well combined.
- Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared pan. Using a spatula, smooth the top. Set the pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake until the edges are golden and bubbling, about 35 minutes. (Keep an eye on it; if the top starts to get too brown, cover with foil.)
- Remove the pan from the oven. Turn on the broiler. Sprinkle the pie with the sage and remaining ½ cup Parmesan. Broil 4 to 5 inches from the heat until the cheese is golden, 1 to 3 minutes. Keep a close eye on it so it doesn't burn. Remove from the oven and run a knife around the inside of the pan. Let the pie rest for about 10 minutes, then release and remove the sides of the pan. Cut the pie into slices and serve warm.
- Make Ahead: The pie can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated a day ahead of time, then baked right before serving.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The unbaked pie can be frozen for up to a month. The day before serving, remove the pie from the freezer and thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Bake as directed.
- Per serving (10 servings)
- Calories: 642
- Fat: 39 g
- Saturated fat: 18 g
- Carbohydrates: 43 g
- Sugar: 6 g
- Fiber: 5 g
- Protein: 30 g
- Sodium: 862 mg
- Cholesterol: 153 mg
This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.
What would be a good substitute for the Fontina Cheese?
Hi Caleb, you can replace it with whole milk mozzarella. Enjoy!
Can I use Cherry tomatoes instead of crushed tomatoes?
So looking forward to trying this recipe !!!
Hi Annette, I’d stick with the canned tomatoes for this — hope you enjoy!
Do you use a 7 or 8 inch spring pan for the Spaghetti Pie?
Hi Susan, I use a 9.5-inch springform for it.
Hi Jenn, I have been eyeing this recipe for awhile now but am having difficulty finding Fontina cheese…..Can you suggest a good substitute!? Thank you in advance!!! Rilla
Hi Rilla, Whole milk mozzarella will work well. Enjoy!
I made this for dinner last night. It was very good, but to my taste I don’t think it’s as good as your Ziti Sausage Casserole.
I agree with other reviewers: I’ll not broil the top next time, and I do plan to make it again.
I am going to give this a try. May I ask why brown the top? I would rather enjoy the spaghetti softer instead of having to peel the crispy layer off the top because to me that spaghetti is too hard for me to enjoy eating.
Hi Laurie, if you’d prefer to avoid the crispy top, I’d skip the step of putting the pasta under the broiler. If you don’t want any crunchiness at all, you can loosely cover the dish with foil for the entire baking time. Hope that helps!
I have made this a couple of times. Besides being delicious I have taken a picture of it to show my friends. They are amazed at its beauty. Even my Italian friends.
Holy crap is this ever tasty.
I have made this many times and always delicious! Thank you for sharing😃
Thais was actually so good! I was hesitant about making it first but I remember making something like this with spaghetti and decided to make it. It took me longer than I thought at first but it was worth it. It was really tasty!
Hi Jenn, Hand crushing the tomatoes releases a lot of liquid. Should the crushed tomatoes be drained again? I did pour off some of the excess liquid and consequently had to cook the sausage/onion/tomato mixture quite awhile to reduce the excess liquid. I made this today to serve tomorrow. Since it will go in the oven cold, how much longer than 35 minutes should I bake it. Finally, I froze a small tin for myself for another day. What time and temp, if different, is required for the frozen version and should it be defrosted first? Thanks very much. This was a lot of work (and a lot of dishes!) but it looks divine.
Hi Mary, while the tomatoes should be drained before you crush them, you shouldn’t have to drain them again after. If you found, however, that there was excess liquid that you needed to cook-off, it’s fine to drain it. And because you’ll be putting it into the oven cold, you may need to add an extra 10 minutes or so onto the baking time. (If you find that the top starts to get a little too brown while it’s in the oven, cover it with foil.)
And for the frozen portion, yes, I would thaw it first and then put it in the oven at 325 for about 15 or 20 minutes or until hot in the middle. (You may want to cover it with foil so it doesn’t dry out.) Hope that helps!
Thank you. This was a big hit. I confess to omitting the broccoli as I’m not a fan. Combining 3 links of Italian sausage with fennel and 2 hot gave the dish a nice zesty flavor. My brother raved about it. Thank you for all your recipes.
I made this delicious casserole today and it is a winner. My husband does not like broccoli so I substituted 5 oz of baby spinach. I added the spinach at the end of the cooking time of the Italian sausage. I used an oval (8×10″) French white “deep” ceramic dish instead of the springform pan. I think there would have been too much for the springform as it made an abundant amount. My husband is particular about his food but he loved this dish. Thanks for another wonderful recipe.
This recipe was a lot of work. A lot of dishes. And hinged on a lot of hope. It did not come through. Perhaps it was the sibling teenage drama raging through the house. Or the hangry prepubescent that felt so let down by a dish he helped make. But this poor dish did not have a chance. I’m not sure why the broccoli was in the dish except to add a veg. The flavor was flat. Even with all that cheese. I had even doubled the garlic and added a few dashes of red pepper flakes. Sadly this dish is not a do over. And the drama rages on……
I have been eyeing this recipe for some time. I had company and decided to make this recipe. I trust your recipes so much Jenn that it was not necessary to even do a trial run. From a 3 year old up to a 70 year old my group loved this recipe. As usual another 5 star recipe. The only thing I left out was the fresh sage because I thought possibly the kids may not like but next time will put it in. I used the cheesecake pan but I think the next time I would double and bake in an appropriate cake pan for a larger group. The presentation would not be as pretty but it would still be delicious.
I give this recipe 5 stars! I have made other spaghetti pie recipes and have found this one to be the best by far. I loved how it all mixed together and stayed moist. I did omit the broccoli and found that I didn’t miss it at all. The spices were the perfect blend to give it its authentic taste. Have already passed this recipe on to friends and they have agreed it too is a must have recipe.
Thank you for this recipe! My family thought it was impressive in the presentation and even better tasting. My husband asked that the next time I make it that I increase the amount of Italian sausage. I followed the recipe exactly as written, but will increase the sausage for our tastes when I make it again.
I recently made this and it was perfectly delicious! I took it to a covered dish event and everyone loved it and there was only one slice left. The left over slice reheated nicely! I followed the recipe exactly (which was hard for me because I’m an experienced cook who improvises 😉) but it’s outstanding in flavors and textures just the way it’s written. It’s worth the effort and makes for a unique and lovely presentation of good, hearty, comfort food. Excellent recipe! Thank you for your website— it’s my number one place for delicious and successful recipes.
While making it the first time, I said to my husband, “This better be extraordinary or it just isn’t worth the effort.” It was extraordinary. The first time you make it, don’t count on serving it the same day. It takes much longer than you would think. Fortunately, there are instructions for serving it the next day. It is best served hot. We had trouble keeping it hot after the first time. Honestly, unexpected people kept coming to eat and meals were delayed. I will definitely cook it again. The leftovers just seem to get better.
When I read that your husband exclaimed that this was one of the best dishes you’ve ever made – I knew we had to try it. I will say that it was tasty, but we didn’t have the “OMG this is the best thing ever” reaction. It was good, but we felt it needed more depth of flavor. Perhaps it was the sausage we bought, (mild italian) it was perhaps too mild to add the needed punch to the dish.
First off, I’ve made Many of you recipes, all delicious, and I’ve gifted your cookbook to many friends and family members. We love it.
I’d like to make spaghetti pie, but with ground sirloin I place of the sausage. Will this substitution affect the end result?
Hi Dina, It should work but you’ll need to season it very well as the sausage adds a lot of flavor to the dish. So happy you’re enjoying the recipes and the book! ☺️
Jenn, I also want to use ground sirloin. Any chance you can be more specific about the spices? I don’t improvise very well. Thanks for your help.
Hi Felice, Generally sausage is seasoned with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings (like basil, oregano, and parsley). I’d use about 1 tsp. of each of these with the exception of the pepper – I’d suggest about 1/2 tsp. of that. Hope that helps!
Cheese – how can 2 1/2 cups equal 8oz.
Hi Sara, 2 1/2 cups is the volume you’ll need and it’s the equivalent of 8 ounces. (The 2 1/2 cups are volume whereas the 8 ounces is what it would weigh if you put it on a scale.) Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy!
In addition to Jenn’s suggestions, I’d add crushed fennel seeds and a little red pepper flakes to mimic the Italian sausage flavoring.
Do you have any suggestions for adjusting this to make it meatless, other than veggie sausage? It looks just delicious!
Hi Jacki, Gail Simmon’s actually makes a vegetarian version of this! You can find it here. Hope you enjoy!
This recipe is outstanding! It makes a great meal for company. I made it to specifications with garbanzo bean spaghetti for GF and you couldn’t tell the difference. And even with the spicy Italian sausage it was very balanced flavor and not too spicy for my guests who prefer milder food. It turned out amazing!!!