Monday, February 20, 2012

"HOMEMADE" SPAGHETTI



"The trouble with Italian food is that five or six days later you're hungry again." ~George Miller

Well, this isn't exactly homemade. I do make it in my own kitchen but with some help from already prepared ingredients I purchase at the grocery store. Therefore, it is easy…and quick.

I don’t think HD ever minded where it came from. He eats lots of it and always wanted it for his special birthday dinner.


HD a few years ago.
A big fresh green salad with Italian dressing and a crusty loaf of Italian garlic bread complete the meal.

You will need:
·        12” heavy skillet with lid
·        Pasta pot

Ingredients:



Spaghetti Sauce:
  •         1-pound ground beef
  •         26-ounce jar prepared Traditional Pasta Sauce
  •         1.5-ounce package dry Italian Style Spaghetti Sauce Mix
  •         6-ounce can tomato paste
  •         2-cups water
  •     Grated Parmesan or fresh shredded Mozzarella
  •         Optional: 1-tablespoon chopped garlic and/or ¼-cup chopped onions

"Most of the food allergies die under garlic and onion."~Martin H Fischer
Spaghetti pasta:
·       16-ounce package of spaghetti pasta


 One of my little hints just for you, blog followers: you will find the best pasta…and the cheapest pasta…on the bottom (or close to the bottom) shelf in the pasta section. It is the generic brand with the store label. I have to bend over (and I’m short) to get it off the shelf. It is currently $1.00 a box at most stores.

 Note: I used to always buy regular spaghetti. I don’t know if the other types have always been available or if I just discovered them a few years ago. Regular spaghetti seems too heavy now so I usually use Thin Spaghetti or Angel Hair.
Process:

Slowly brown the ground beef in the skillet on medium heat. (If you are adding the garlic and onions, put them in now.) Use a potato masher to smash the meat so that it browns evenly and is crumbly.



Add two tablespoons water to the browning meat and cover the skillet. This keeps the meat moist.

After the meat is thoroughly cooked, remove the lid.

Add the jar of pasta sauce, the dry package mix and the tomato paste to the meat.

Add the two cups water to the empty sauce jar, put the lid on it and shake it to get all the remaining sauce out of the jar.

Pour the liquid that’s in the jar into the meat and stir all ingredients together until they are mixed thoroughly.

Bring to a boil. 


        

Lower the heat to simmer and replace the lid, stirring occasionally until the pasta is ready.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions.

EXCEPT: DO NOT ADD SALT TO THE WATER. We get enough salt in this world already.

If you plan on having a salad and bread with this meal, make your salad ahead of time and put the bowl in the fridge with a damp paper towel over the top of it.

Have the oven heated to warm the bread before you start cooking the pasta. Depending on the type of bread, see how long it will take to have it ready at the same time the pasta is ready, particularly if it is to go under the broiler.

Garlic bread can always be wrapped in foil and kept warm in the oven until the dinner is ready to be served.

One of the most difficult things about cooking is having everything ready at the same time. This is particularly true of a spaghetti meal. Planning is key! Spaghetti gets very sticky when it gets cold and it is not that easy to reheat it effectively.

If you must heat it up, put a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in the spaghetti pot with the heat on medium. Add the spaghetti from the strainer and sprinkle another tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the pasta. Using two forks or two wooden spoons, gently toss the pasta to evenly distribute the oil. Cover the pot and let the pasta heat up before serving.

Spaghetti sauce freezes well so it can be made ahead when you have time. Allow the sauce to thaw in refrigerator overnight the day before your dinner. An hour or so before the meal is to be served, put the sauce in a saucepan and heat to boiling, reduce the heat to simmer and cover the pan. You may have to add some water to the sauce as freezing will make it thicken up.

If you have leftover sauce and pasta after your dinner, mix it together in the pasta pot. Throw in some grated Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese, mix that in and put the mixture in a greased casserole dish. The spaghetti will break into smaller pieces as you mix it. That is good.

You can freeze the casserole for later. When ready to have it, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight. Before baking, sprinkle some water over the top of the casserole. Then sprinkle some Italian breadcrumbs and shredded Mozzarella cheese over the top.

Bake it at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until the cheese melts and the sides are bubbling.

Buon appetito a tutti i miei amici!





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