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How to Make Spaghetti

Slow-Cooker Beef Bolognese
Bring the taste of your favorite Italian restaurant to your kitchen and make the best homemade spaghetti dinner ever with these easy kitchen tips.

Spaghetti Basics: What You Need to Know

Most people use the term “spaghetti” to refer to the dish: long, thin pasta noodles smothered in rich tomato sauce and served with herbs and Parmesan cheese. The actual word “spaghetti,” however, is really just the name used to describe the noodle.

As you may have guessed, spaghetti is traditionally Italian. The word spaghetti is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, which is the diminutive of spago, literally translating to “thin rope” or “string.”

Though pasta’s origins can be traced all the way back to the fifth century, spaghetti noodles, specifically, are thought to have been first produced in 12th century Sicily. Its popularity didn’t reach the United States until the latter half of the 19th century, where it was served in restaurants with tomato sauce and soon became an enormously popular American mainstay.

Go to any Italian restaurant in America today, and you’ll find spaghetti served in a similar way. Nowadays, it’s common to see spaghetti noodles served in a Bolognese sauce, which is a meat-based red sauce that also has origins in Italy. Traditionally, spaghetti is served “al dente,” which means it’s cooked until it’s firm to bite, or as the translation reads “to the tooth.”

Different Methods for Making Spaghetti

There are a few different methods for making spaghetti, but cooking the noodles and sauce on the stove is the overwhelming favorite. But that doesn’t mean you should rule out alternatives! Baked spaghetti and slow-cooker spaghetti recipes are delicious, too.

On the stove: Spaghetti on the stove couldn’t be simpler. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil on the stove. A good rule of thumb for salting the water is to add 1 1/2 tablespoons salt for every 1 pound of pasta. Then add your spaghetti noodles and cook for 7 to 11 minutes. Most boxes will have instructions on the back, too. You can make homemade tomato or Bolognese sauce in the skillet while your noodles cook, or if you’re really pressed for time, you can cheat with jarred sauce from the grocery store.

In the slow cooker: Though it isn’t recommended that you cook your noodles in the slow cooker, you can cook a killer Bolognese sauce in one. Freeze extra sauce to have on hand for busy weeknight dinners.

In the oven: Three words: Baked. Spaghetti. Casserole. Throw your noodles, sauce and meatballs in a casserole dish and bake it all up. Sprinkle with cheese and herbs for extra flavor. Our easy recipe can be prepared ahead of time!

How to Make Spaghetti

This top-rated spaghetti dinner is super easy and requires close to zero cleanup—everything is simmered over the stove in one pot! Here’s how to make it.

What you need:

  • One 8-quart stockpot 
  • Large wooden spoon

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 12 oz uncooked spaghetti noodles (from 16 oz box) 
  • 1 can (28 oz) Muir Glen organic crushed tomatoes with basil, undrained 
  • 1 box (32 oz) Progresso chicken broth 
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream 
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, if desired 
  • Shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves for garnish

In an 8-quart stockpot, cook sausage over medium-high heat for 5 to 7 minutes or until no longer pink; drain. Next, add the spaghetti noodles, tomatoes, broth, cream and pepper flakes.

Cook sausage over medium-high heat until no longer pink

Heat to boiling, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer the mixture for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently until pasta is tender and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Pasta, spaghetti and sausage in a pot on the stove.

Serve with shredded Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, if desired.

One Pot Creamy Spaghetti

How to Serve Spaghetti

There are many ways to serve spaghetti, but the most popular way is to serve noodles with a marinara or Bolognese sauce. Additional garnishes like grated Parmesan cheese and fresh Italian herbs like oregano and basil also add a boost of flavor.

Another popular way to serve spaghetti is with meatballs. Make your meal extra special by making meatballs homemade—it’s easier than you think!

What to Make with Spaghetti

Spaghetti noodles can be used in so many other dishes, aside from the traditional red sauce recipe we know and love. Keep yourself out of a dinner rut with these clever takes on spaghetti noodles.

How to Store Leftover Spaghetti

Leftover spaghetti can be stored tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3 to 5 days. You can also freeze spaghetti for 1 to 2 months in an airtight container or plastic freezer bag. Thawed pasta can be reheated in the microwave—cook it in 90-second intervals, stirring in between, until warmed through.

Need more noodles in your life? Browse all of our awesome pasta recipes!


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