I was mostly excited by this week’s casserole for the chance to have crunchy pasta and bake my casserole in something other than a 9-by-13 or gratin dish.

It turns out that I should have been excited by its crunchiness and simplicity. This spaghetti mac casserole from Food & Wine was probably one of the easier ones I’ve made this year — few ingredients, little work and a relatively quick baking time. Plus, it has tons of cheese — a Christinia favorite.

If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it is.

There was one major snag that just about ruined the whole thing. If you, loyal reader, can figure a way past it, you’ve got a beautiful, delicious and fun casserole good for a get-together. If you can’t figure it out, well, you’ve got an ugly but delicious casserole that tastes great fresh from the oven.

The spaghetti mac is baked in a “generously” greased bundt pan. While it makes for more surface area and more crunch, it is also meant to be served outside of the casserole dish as a sort of spaghetti loaf.

For the life of me, despite greasing the pan with a tablespoon of butter, I could not get the stupid casserole out of the stupid pan. I followed the directions carefully — placing the pan on a rack and letting it cool for 15 minutes, before trying to dislodge — to no avail. The thing was simply stuck.

It still made for a fantastically cheesy and crunchy casserole, but it never made it out of the damn pan.

One final note, I say it’s best served at a get-together because the fresh crunch of the pasta doesn’t work as well as leftovers. But at least it’s still cheesy carbs.

Spaghetti Mac

1 pound spaghetti, cooked to al dente

2 cups Fontina cheese, shredded

2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

¾ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

1 ½ cup whole milk

3 eggs, lightly beaten

Salt and pepper, to taste

Butter, for greasing

Preheat oven to 425 F. Generously butter a 10-inch bundt pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the spaghetti, cheeses, milk, eggs and salt and pepper. Spread the mixture in the prepared bundt pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the cheese is melted and bubbling. Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 15 minutes.

Invert spaghetti mac loaf onto a platter (if possible). Cut into wedges and enjoy!

Christinia Crippes is a Courier reporter who loves to cook. Read her blog at www.wcfcourier.com.

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