Selecting the right cheeses for your baked spaghetti can transform an ordinary casserole into a signature dish. Baked spaghetti is more accommodating to busy schedules than stove top pastas, since you can store it in the refrigerator and later send it straight to the oven. Once the pasta begins baking, the warm respite you seek will be done in minutes.
Chefs add cheddar cheese on top of layers of pasta in baked spaghetti. The cheese is made by cheddaring, or when slabs of partially drained curd are stacked on top of one another. Cheddar cheese is the mostly widely produced cheese in the world, according to the Food Network. Flavors of cheddar cheese range from sharp to bland and can be infused with fruits, nuts and caramel. Chefs may select mild, medium or sharp cheddar for the casserole, according to their preference.
Monterey Jack Cheese
Monterey Jack cheese may be mixed with shredded cheddar cheese and layered in baked spaghetti casserolel. Cooks add Monterey Jack cheese to intensify the dish's flavor and add spice without directly baking with pepper. Cheese makers add flavors to Jack cheese, such as chilies, peppers and garlic. This native California cheese comes in several varieties from soft to hard and grana for grating. A semi-soft or semi-hard cheese is ideal for baked spaghetti since such types are easy to shred.
Food Network chef Paula Dean places slices of Swiss cheese between the cheddar and meat layers in her baked spaghetti recipe. The pale yellow cheese is named after its country of origin, Switzerland. It is produced worldwide, however. Heat-attracting bacteria ferment within the cheese and skew carbon dioxide bubbles, which form holes in Swiss cheese. Some chefs may use baby Swiss cheese as an alternative because of its milder, sweeter flavor.
Mozzarella cheese is an excellent topping for baked spaghetti, following its last layer of tomato sauce. Its semi-soft, elastic texture has excellent melting qualities, serving as an ideal finish for any casserole. Mozzarella is typically made from cow's milk, but buffalo mozzarella is available as well.
Nicole Newman is a Dartmouth College associate who works in Tiltfactor Laboratory, Dartmouth's premier game design center. Her research has included investigating the digital humanities through "Writing as a Dimensional Artifact" and "Evolution of the Ghetto: The Decline of America’s Inner Cities," a research initiative on urban design.