I forgot that used to be a thing, until someone showed me a joke:
her: “I’m breaking up with you.”
him: “Is it because I keep saying ‘uh oh, spaghettios’?”
her: “Actually, yes.”
him: “Uh oh, spaghettios…”
Now it keeps popping into my head. Which leads me to think about — what else? — spaghettios. I love spaghettios almost as much as Kraft mac n cheese or hot dogs. It’s so easy to pop open a can and have that cheesy-tomato goodness in my belly in a matter of minutes. But I am an adult now, and therefore I must limit my lazy junk food splurges to desperate times (like when I’m really needing quick comfort food, or at the beach with my garbage friends). The good news is there are plenty of “adult” (read: homemade) versions of the comfort food I so enjoy. I’m still searching for the *perfect* macaroni and cheese recipe, but I’ve found enough good ones that I can whip up a decent pot when the craving strikes. I save the hot dogs for the ballpark (or a particularly fantastic grilling day). That leaves spaghettios as my only semi-justifiable lazy-splurge.
I stumbled across the original recipe on Pinterest (I am obsessed with Pinterest recipes), but you can find it here. I can never thank Nikki Gladd enough for the post that gave me permission to eat spaghettios like an adult. I’ve made my own tweaks and adjustments, which to me give the dish even more of an authentic taste, still while maintaining an air of healthiness.
The most important item: spaghetti rings. I found them at Wegmans (which is hands down the best grocery store.)
I skip the garlic. I’m a big fan of garlic, but I’ve found eliminating it from this particular dish actually makes it better (which is rarely the case). The other major trick I found is cooking the noodles directly in the sauce, rather than separately and combining with the sauce at the end. The starch from the pasta thickens the sauce and the tomatoey-taste fattens the pasta.
Check out the full recipe if you’re feeling like reconnecting with the kid inside you (or if, like me, you feel a little guilty for all the canned junk you eat).
- Olive Oil for pan (~1 tbs)
- 1/4 tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 can Tomato Sauce
- 1 scoop Tomato Paste (~1 tbs. The time I made this the best, I used a regular spoon and eyeballed it)
- 3 cups water
- 8 oz spaghetti rings (or other round pasta)
- Generous pinch of granulated sugar
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- 2-4 tbs butter (you can cut down to make it even ‘healthier’)
- 1/4 cup milk
- ~1 cup shredded cheese (I used pre-shredded Mexican cheese. I also just dropped two handfuls in rather than measuring an actual cup)
- In medium saucepan, saute the red pepper flakes in olive oil over Medium heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato sauce, paste, water, pasta, sugar, salt and pepper.
- Bring to low boil, stirring frequently to keep pasta from sticking to bottom of pan.
- Add butter. Stir until melted.
- Stir in milk.
- Simmer over Medium-Low for about 10 minutes or until pasta is cooked.
- (If sauce seems too runny, add a second scoop of tomato paste to thicken. Stir until fully distributed, then turn off heat) Add cheese one handful at a time, stirring between to melt fully.
This recipe makes about 4 servings.