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Gail Simmons’ Epic Spaghetti Pie

5 stars based on 15 votes

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 better and 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.

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.

how to make spaghetti pie

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.

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Gail Simmons' Epic Spaghetti Pie

Servings: 8 to 10
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes, plus resting time

Ingredients

  • Unsalted butter, for greasing the pan
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 3/4 lb broccoli or broccoli rabe, trimmed, stems and florets chopped into 1/4-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
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (I substituted half & half)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2-1/2 cups (8 oz) grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 2-1/2 cups (8 oz) grated fontina cheese
  • 1-1/2 cups (3 oz) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
  • Special equipment: 9½-inch springform pan

Instructions

  1. 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 1/2-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.
  2. 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 1/4 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.)
  6. 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, 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.
  7. Make Ahead: The pie can be assembled, covered, and refrigerated a day ahead of time, then baked right before serving. The unbaked pie may also 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.

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Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • 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.

Reviews & Comments

  • 5 stars

    This recipe is a winner. Great flavors and presentation. I used Havarti cheese in place of the Fontina since I had it on hand. This will go in my family favorites file

    - Susan on November 12, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This was easy to make and so delicious! The only change I made was to use turkey sausage instead of pork. The kids ate the leftovers after school for days and are already asking me to make it again. Great recipe!

    - Katie on November 8, 2017 Reply
  • Any ideas about making this vegetarian? Maybe with meaty mushrooms and extra garlic/spices?

    - Amanda on November 7, 2017 Reply
    • I think that could work; just make sure you saute the mushrooms in oil and, as you said, add extra garlic and herbs. I’ve love to hear how it turns out!

      - Jenn on November 7, 2017 Reply
    • 5 stars

      I made it with Gardein’s Beefless Ground and it came out great. You’ll want to spice up the ground, but it worked great for me. Also, while I was making this, I thought there was no way everything would fit in the pan, but somehow it did. Next time I think I will cook more water out of the broccoli-onion-ground mixture so it sets up firmer, but other than that (which is on me), this was 5 stars.

      - Chip on November 16, 2017 Reply
  • 4 stars

    Made this last night. Everyone enjoyed it however the top got really crusty after baking then broiling and did not resemble your picture. I ended up removing some of the crispy black noodles on top. Is it suppposed to get a crusty top?

    - Stacey on November 6, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Stacey, Was it already browned before you broiled it or did it burn under the broiler?

      - Jenn on November 6, 2017 Reply
      • Yes, mine did too – many noodles were crispy and black before putting it under the broiler. While the cheese topping made a nice crust, I wondered if I should have loosely covered it with foil while it was baking?

        - Amy on November 17, 2017 Reply
        • Yes Amy, I think it’s a smart move to cover it with foil if it’s starting to brown more than you’d like. I just added it to the recipe.

          - Jenn on November 17, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I made this last night for company. It was a success! It looked beautiful, just like the pictures. I used hot Italian sousage which gave it a lot of flavor. The prep time was more like an hour but still worth making. Definitely a keeper.

    - Elaine Winkel on November 6, 2017 Reply
  • I do not like sausage. Do you think the dish would lose much if I used ground beef?

    - Elizabeth on November 6, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Elizabeth, I think it’d work well with ground beef – but I might increase the seasoning a bit to make up for the missing flavor.

      - Jenn on November 6, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jen. Looking forward to trying this out for a party Saturday… I’m in Tunisia though so Italian sausage isn’t an option. Will go for ground beef as you suggested. Any pointers on twicking the seasoning ? (Should I add cumin? Paprika?) Thanks in advance!

        - Marine on November 8, 2017 Reply
        • Hi Marine, I would suggest adding Italian seasoning, like oregano, basil, and more garlic. Hope you enjoy!

          - Jenn on November 8, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    This is Epic. Wow! Thank you for sharing. I have pre-ordered your cookbook and I cannot wait for it to arrive in the mail. Your website is my go to for everything from weeknight dinners to dinner party ideas.

    - Sarah Kis-Toth on November 5, 2017 Reply
  • This sounds fantastic! What a great idea… My question: I am planning to bring this to a friend… will the bottom of the spring form pan stick to the bottom of the spaghetti pie? Should I line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper? Or, is it not necessary? I do not want my friend to be concerned about returning the bottom of my pan.
    Thank you!
    Adele

    - adele on November 5, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Adele, It doesn’t stick — once the pie sets, you should be able to lift/slide it off carefully with two large spatulas.

      - Jenn on November 5, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        Hi Jenn… thank you for your reply. This helps A LOT! (I apologize for calling you “Gail”…) This appears to be a variation of the Italian “timballo”… So much easier – and, it looks just as delicious! What a beautiful presentation…!! I cannot wait to make it. Your recipes are wonderful. Thank you, so much, for this fabulous site!
        Adele

        - adele on November 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Made this for a group of hungry teenage boys last night and it was devoured with gusto. Can’t wait to make it again so I can actually have some!

    - Sandy on November 5, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hi Jenn,

    Your recipes have been a source of inspiration for quite a few years now (your Chicken Marbella is outstanding and my usual go-to!)

    I ordered your recipe book as soon as I got the e-mail and I can’t wait to receive it next year. Thank you again so much for your dedication and hard work. Can’t wait for your next recipe 🙂

    - Ashara on November 5, 2017 Reply
    • Thanks so much, Ashara! (Although I can’t take credit for Chicken Marbella – that’s a favorite from the famous Silver Palate Cookbook 😀)

      - Jenn on November 5, 2017 Reply
  • 3 stars

    Although I liked the dish, I would have liked more tomato flavour

    - Nanners on November 4, 2017 Reply
  • I’m new to your site and I LOVE it. I have a question. Do you think I could make half the recipe and bake it in a smaller round dish?

    - Laurie on November 4, 2017 Reply
    • Sure, Laurie – that will work. Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 4, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Yum! Made it tonight for dinner and the family collectively enjoyed it. This would be great to take to an event because it looks beautiful and makes so much food.

    - J Page on November 4, 2017 Reply
  • Sorry I mean spring form pan, not bundt pan. After I saw someone asked about that. Pretty sure contents will fit into my deep 3 qt baking dish, but how long to you think it should bake?

    - Heidi on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • I knew what you meant ;). I think bake time will be the same.

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn, wonder if the spaghetti pie could be cooked in 3 qt baking dish instead of bundt pan?

    - Heidi on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • Yep – that’ll work. Hope you enjoy it!

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • I like the idea of using a Bundt pan. There would be room for a tall and interesting presentation. It would also be easy to slice portions. Good idea! Maybe the name of “Spaghetti Pie” may have to change to something like Spaghetti Bundt Pie” :-).

      - Ross on November 4, 2017 Reply
  • Sorry…I forgot to ask if a 9″ springform would work? The one I have holds 10 cups. It would be so good if my brain actually worked.

    - Debby on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • Ha! Most 9-inch springform pans are actually about 9-1/2 inches so I think you’ll be fine.

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • Thank you very much for BOTH responses, lol

      - Debby on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • Hi Jenn! Do you think I’d get good results freezing the cooked leftovers? There’s just the two of us…

    - Debby on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • I do think this would freeze well, Debby. You could also divide the unbaked pasta into two separate baking dishes and freeze one for later.

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • Jenn,
    Do you think this would be as good with spaghetti squash instead of pasta?
    Lynn

    - Lynn on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • Yes definitely!

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • This looks great! I am not a broccoli fan so I think I will give it a try w/spinach and add a few mushrooms. I have a spring form pan, but I might give it a try w/individual crock bowls that I have that should be plenty deep, just flip them over and make a small pie. Lined sprayed parchment should work. If it works it would be a great dish to take a friend that is sick or recovering from surgery along w/some bread, maybe small salad. This combo of ingredients is a favorite and I always have the items on hand except for the Fontina.

    I am disabled on a fixed income so I doubt I will be able to purchase your new cookbook, maybe one day; but for now I am going to request my library to purchase it, which I am sure they will do. You get a purchase and I get to read it. Win/Win! I do wish you great success w/It!

    After long and stressful days I have to say one of my favorite things to do to wind down is to read your site and browse the new recipes. It is calming and just feels so relaxing before I go to sleep. So thank you for all your hard work and sharing your ideas and recipes w/us.

    - Ruby on November 3, 2017 Reply
    • That is so sweet, Ruby – thank you! ❤️

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    Hello !! I do not have a 9 ‘ spring form pan although i can go buy one …. is threre a possibility a 9 by 13 baking dish will do the trick ? Thank you and way to go on the new cookbook!!!!:)))

    - Julie on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • Hi Julie, A large baking dish will definitely work. I haven’t tried it so I’m not positive it will all fit into a 9×13, but you can always bake any extra in a separate smaller dish (or freeze it for another time). Enjoy!

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply
      • 5 stars

        This recipe set the record for “fastest time to try a once upon a chef recipe” and it was great (added some red pepper flakes)! I baked this tonight in a 9×13 pan and it all fit perfectly. Cooking time was exact same also using the 9×13. Thanks Jenn!

        - Natalie on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • I am diabetic and can’t eat the pasta, but do you think this would work with spaghetti squash? Thanks, Karen

    - Karen on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • I think it’s a great idea, Karen. Please let me know how it turns out.

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it. Do you think you could substitute beef for the sausage?

    - Mary Ellen on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • I do think that’d work, Mary Ellen. I’d add a bit more garlic and seasoning though since sausage adds so much flavor.

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • Is it ok to use skim or 1% milk to cut fat and calories?
    Peg

    - Peg on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • I haven’t tried it, Peg, but I think it’d be fine. Please come back and let me know how it turns out!

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • Peg, don’t be concerned about the amount of fat in 6 Ozs of whole milk. If you are trying to reduce the amount of fats in your diet, remember this recipe calls for 1 Lb of sausage and 1.2 Lbs of cheese. That fat compared to the fat in 6 Ozs of milk, going from a 3 or 4 percent fat content in whole milk to 1 percent is inconsequential.

      - Ross on November 4, 2017 Reply
  • Should the prep time be adjusted? It reads 10 minutes but it appears it is at least 20. Thanks for your site! I made a few of your recipes and they turned out great.

    - Canadian girl on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • That’s from the book but I will adjust. Thanks – and glad you like the recipes!

      - Jenn on November 3, 2017 Reply
  • 5 stars

    We made this spaghetti pie per the instructions, except for the sage. It was tremendous. Using a spring-form pan provided great height which was a real plus. We used BelGioioso™ Fontina Cheese which is a mild fontina. A lot of the flavor comes from your choice of sausage. We chose Johnsonville™ Sweet (Mild) Italian Sausage.

    A big plus was that it was good the second day. We wrapped the left over in aluminum foil and gently re-heated in our big toaster oven.

    - Ross on November 2, 2017 Reply
  • Q: Do you think this could be assembled ahead and cooked the next day…or would the noodles soak up the juices?
    (P.S. I just pre-ordered your book on Amazon – can’t wait for it!)

    - Jamie N. on November 2, 2017 Reply
    • Thank you, Jamie! I definitely think it can be assembled ahead and baked the next day – see the notes at the end of the recipe for make-ahead instructions. 🙂

      - Jenn on November 2, 2017 Reply

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