This Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce is not the typical one you found in Italian restaurants. This version is meaty, savory with a little sweetness, but just as delicious!
Rainy California have me craving for comfort food! The only thing that would satisfy me is this Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (焗肉醬意粉). This dish is something I grew up eating, and it might not be exactly the same as a typical meat sauce with spaghetti in the US. But it’s just as amazingly delicious!
Hong Kong is heavily influence with western culture, especially when it was a colony under Britain. There are a lot of western style food in Hong Kong. Many of them are changed slightly to fit into local flavors, like egg tart & borscht soup. Bake spaghetti with meat sauce is actually very common. Not only you can get it in Italian restaurants, you can even find it in most cha chaan teng (茶餐廳 Hong Kong style cafes) and a couple fast food chains, like Cafe de Coral (大家樂) and Maxims MX (美心MX). I can say that every Hong Konger know exactly what this dish is and have had it in at least once.
There is a Cafe del Coral right next to where we used to live. Whenever my family and I went there, my sister always go for the spaghetti with meat sauce. It’s her favorite dish! The gooey melted cheese and the bubbly hot pasta was too hard to resist. Hearty, meaty and comforting! Even though your face would be covered with sauce afterward, I had no regret. The only sad thing was the portion size. It was on the small size. But now, you get to make this at home and you can make as much as you want.
My meat sauce sure tastes pretty close to what I remember from Cafe de Coral. It’s tomatoey with a little sweetness and lots of meat. For the meat, I used a blend, bacon, ground beef and pork. The smokiness from the bacon is a nice touch. The sweet is from ketchup, sugar and carrot. Again, this recipe is not your American Italian version. Ketchup is widely used in Hong Kong’s dishes. It may seems a bit odd, but it’s magical. The meat, tomatoes, herbs, and vegetables were cooked together for a good 30 – 40 minutes. Everything was nicely blended together. It tasted incredible just on its own. But it’s even better with gooey cheese. Transfer everything to a baking dish. Top with mozzarella and bake until bubbly and golden brown. Everyone will fall in love with this spaghetti goodness!
Baked Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
- 2 slices thick bacon (minced)
- ¾ onion (finely diced)
- 1 small carrot (peeled and minced)
- ¼ pound ground beef (15% fat)
- ¼ pound ground pork
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- 3 garlic cloves (minced)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1½ - 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ¾ can (14.5 ounce can) dice-tomatoes 14.5 ounce can dice-tomatoes
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 8 ounces dried spaghetti
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
- 3 - 4 slices mozzarella cheese
- ground black pepper
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add bacon and cook until some are golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Remove all the fat with a paper towel except for 1 tablespoon.
- In the same pan over medium-low heat, add onion and carrot. Saute for 10 minutes. Add bacon and cook for 5 more minutes. Stir in both ground meat and cook until no longer pink. Season with salt and pepper. Add oregano, rosemary, garlic and tomato paste. Saute for 1 minute.
- Pour 1½ cups broth. Scrap off the brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Add the diced tomatoes and some of the juice. Add ketchup and sugar. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the tomatoes are almost melted, about 30 – 40 minutes.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water (salted) to a boil over high heat. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 to 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 450˚F (230˚C).
- Back to the meat sauce, make sure the mixture doesn’t reduce too much. The sauce should not be too thick and too dry. It should be pretty liquidy. Reduce the heat to low. Stir in half of the parmesan cheese. Mix well. Remove ½ of the meat sauce to a medium bowl and set aside. Add the spaghetti to the skillet. Mix to combine.
- Transfer the spaghetti to a medium baking dish. Scoop the set-aside meat sauce over. Top with mozzarella cheese slices and sprinkle with the rest of parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven until cheese is melted and golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes. (If you have a broiler, you can do 7 minutes in 450˚F, then 3 minutes in broiler.)
- If you like, you can skip the oven part and serve the pasta right away.
- Since the pasta has to baked, the meat sauce should be fairly runny. That way, the pasta won’t be too dry at the end.
Elaine Chan says
The cheese is the best part. Yummy! I will try this dish at the next company potluck. Thanks for sharing!
I can’t agree more! Hope you will like this as much as we do! 🙂
You always make my heart swell with these HK cafe style comfort dishes. This is another one of my favorites. Looks simply perfect. I want to live in your kitchen!
Jack | BBQRecipez says
If you write a cookbook I will totally buy it! Your dinners are always fantastic! I can’t wait to try this one out… I love the idea of pre-twirling the pasta!
This was so good! I made it several weeks ago, and I’m making it again tonight. I had a little leftover sauce from last time, so I used it over rice and topped with cheese as a version of a Tasty Japan recipe for Milano Doria. It was DELICIOUS! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe!
My fiancé is an avid HK spaghetti bolognese lover, and he gave this 5 stars! I made a double batch again just so I could freeze it and have it anytime 🙂 Thank you for our new go-to recipe!
Thank you Agnes! I’m so happy to hear that your fiancé approved and you guys liked this. You totally reminded me that I should make this for dinner this week. Thank you for coming back and letting me know. Have a wonderful week! ?
Love this! It’s so easy to follow and it tastes so good! Love the Hong Kong Russian Borscht soup as well ?
Aww, thank you so much, Joy! It’s so great to know that you liked both the spaghetti and the borscht soup. I just made both not long ago. My kind of comfort food! ?
This dish is soooooo delicious. Absolute favorite with the teenagers. You saved my sanity during covid. My kids were craving this dish during quarantine but restaurants weren’t open. After making this dish, we haven’t even attempted to order at the restaurant now.
Thank you very much for your sweet comment, Nicole! You made my day! I’m so excited that you and your kids really enjoyed this pasta. You reminded me why I keep blogging. ❤️☺️
This turned out perfectly and really satisfied my nostalgic cravings for HK café-style baked spaghetti <3
So glad to hear! Definitely one of my go-to meals!