When she was 19, Gail Simmons traveled through New Zealand and quickly became obsessed with a local specialty that appeared at practically every roadside diner: spaghetti sandwiches. Part oozy grilled cheese, part tangy, tomato-sauced noodles, this mash-up was the inspiration for one of the Top Chef judge’s greatest culinary triumphs, spaghetti pie. She’s prepared multiple flavor variations, and it always makes her guests extremely happy. This version, perfect for fall gatherings, incorporates plenty of wild mushrooms, spinach and herbs (plus a spoonful of chopped oil-packed black truffles, if she’s feeling decadent). Bonus: If you don’t finish it all in one sitting, leftovers make possibly the best next-day treat of all time.
Slideshow:More Spaghetti Recipes
Unsalted butter, softened, for brushing
1 pound spaghetti
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms, such as cremini, porcini and stemmed shiitakes,
cut into 1-inch pieces
5 ounces baby spinach
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
3 cups shredded Fontina cheese (10 ounces)
1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
1 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped sage
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
How to Make It
Preheat the oven to 425°. Tightly wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with foil and brush the inside with butter. In a pot of salted boiling water, cook the spaghetti until barely al dente; drain.
In a large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until sizzling, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Scrape into a bowl.
In the same skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the spinach, season with salt and pepper and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until just wilted, about 2 minutes. Scrape into the mushrooms and let cool slightly.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the milk. Add the spaghetti, mushroom mixture, 3 cheeses, sage, thyme, 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper; mix well. Scrape into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Set the pan on a baking sheet and bake for about 35 minutes, until bubbling and the top is golden. Let stand for 15 minutes. Remove the ring, cut the pie into wedges and serve.
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