January 15, 2010


It's comfort food season, and sometimes you find yourself craving things you shouldn't. Like sodium-infested SpaghettiOs. I am generally not a fan of Wikipedia for obtaining details on things you start wondering about, but it did provide a rather humorous timeline on the development of SpaghettiOs and their creator, Donald Goerke, who sadly, actually died this week at the age of 83. After I learned that, I decided to pay a little homage to him and see if I could replicate his masterpiece at home. I also wanted to try and make them somewhat better for you than canned-food-aisle quality, especially should the hubby and I decide to add munchkins to the mix somewhere down the road. (Yeah, all you parents out there are laughing your patooties off thinking, "She thinks she'll have time to make homemade SpaghettiOs with a bunch of rugrats running around screaming 'feed me, feed me'?" Well, I always said this was a bunch of Spoonfoolery, ya know...).

This recipe from Oven Love is a good solid start, but I found the noodles took a long time to cook using the cooking method there, and they absorbed nearly all the moisture in the pot, making for something resembling Sbarro's heat-lamp masses instead of the savory, soupy goodness of SpaghettiOs. Here's the recipe with my edits to cooking time, process, and measurements.

1-lb package anelletti (ring-shaped pasta, available at Trader Joe's) or alpabets or even orzo, cooked separately according to package directions and drained
28-oz can tomato sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
1-2 cups extra water (as needed)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp butter
salt to taste

Heat the tomato sauce and garlic powder in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add noodles and stir to combine. Add water as needed, depending on how "saucy" you like your SpaghettiOs. Stir in the cheese and heat through until melted. Add milk, butter, and salt to taste. Voila! Instant fourth-grade joy!

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