Cherry Saturday, January 5, 2019

Today is Spaghetti Day, a pasta that is close to my heart because, hey, memories. No matter how bad a cook your mama was, I bet you had spaghetti when you were a kid, even if all she did was open a can.

Of course, now you can make spaghetti out of vegetables with a spiralizer which I kind of want to try and kind of don’t. For one thing, I’d have to eat vegetables.

But spaghetti with chopped tomato, sautéed mushrooms and onions, a little basil, maybe a little oregano if I’m feeling frisky, maybe some sliced black olives if I want to pretend I’m in the Mediterranean, that’s a good lunch. The kind with the thick sauce with everything but the kitchen sink is good, too. And of course, there’s Spaghetti and Eyeballs, the food that dares you to eat it.

Spaghetti. You should have some.

If you want the Spaghetti and Eyeballs recipe, it’s here.

40 thoughts on “Cherry Saturday, January 5, 2019

  1. Mmmm, spaghetti. Still the fallback food when I’m visiting my parents and we can’t decide what to make for dinner.

  2. I remember setting off for a two-month art history course in Venice in my gap year, full of trepidation about the food: I’d only had Heinz spaghetti, and wasn’t at all sure I’d like the real stuff. Plus, of course, it’s a lot trickier to eat when it’s not chopped up. Dinner every night started with pasta – and of course I never went back to Heinz.

    I’m not sure what I’m having today, but probably not spaghetti. I want to have some kind of Twelfth Night feast to finish Christmas.

  3. I admit to preferring tagliatelle, linguine, and fusilli over spaghetti. I don’t know why.

    We have garden fresh tomatoes now. I’ve been having fun with tomato based pastas. Will post a pic of tomatoes in Instagram later.

    You’d be surprised at how delicious zucchini linguine is. I was. I steamed it a bit to get that pasta texture and it was perfect. The almost crunch goodness of veggies but with the mouth feel of pasta. Lord, it was good.

  4. I made BLT pasta tonight. It’s one of my favourites, and I was looking for an excuse to try out the beautiful duck egg blue pot that I got for Christmas.

      1. It’s bacon, lettuce(baby spinach) and tomato, and it’s delicious. I made a huge pot of it for the four of us, and the whole lot vanished. Even my picky nine year old had three huge helpings. All I do is cook the pasta, fry up some bacon and garlic in olive oil, turn off the heat and add in some halved cherry tomatoes and the cooked pasta, and then throw in as much baby spinach as I want (the residual heat wilts the spinach) and a bit of pepper, and eat.

        1. Being vegetarian I don’t use bacon, but I make a similar sauce with fried red onion and garlic, cherry tomatoes, baby spinach and a healthy swig of balsamic vinegar. If you pour it on top of the tomatoes before the pasta goes in it makes the sauce with the oil and tomato juices.

  5. We had gluten-free pasta with sauce and meatballs for dinner last night. I even had it timed perfectly, so it was ready when my husband got home. But, alas, I got a phone call from my cousin, and my husband a call from work, so things got delayed. It was still good when we got to it, even if it wasn’t quite as warm as we would have liked.

    1. That’s one nice thing about cooking for one — there’s no reason why it can’t be the right temperature! I particularly notice it on holidays, when the large crowd and the expansive menu mean it’s virtually impossible for the hot things to still be hot when everyone finally sits down with food on their plates. But at home, for one person, with usually a relatively limited menu, it’s easy.

      Already planned tortellini for dinner. But I think I’ll put spaghetti on the menu for later in the week (gotta finish some left-overs tomorrow first; yes, I pre-plan my meals a few days out or I eat too much junk food on the spur of the moment, because if left to “what do I want to eat right now” instead of “what have I planned to eat,” I always end up going to for unhealthy stuff; even if I actually do like the healthy stuff, it’s still not as immediately appealing as the less healthy stuff).

  6. I tried a spiral user, but find out meant impossible to get to work. Prepaid there’s a brand out there that’s great. Or a food processor blade that does it well.

    For now, I buy store spiralized veggies sometimes. I find there’s only so far my imagination can take me in pretending that sliced zucchini is great pasta substitute. My taste buds just refuse to play along.

  7. My mother has a spiralizer that my preschooler loves to use! We have eaten kid of spiralized veggie noodles as a result. Sweet potato noodles are delicious, especially in a nice peanut sauce. really care for the zucchini noodles, but I don’t care for zucchini in general, so that’s probably why!

  8. I get nostalgic over old Prince Spaghetti commercials. No, we weren’t Italian. French Canadians love spaghetti, too, every Wednesday. (LaRosa, brand, not Prince.) Mama’s meatballs were the size of tennis balls, and simmered in the sauce all day. The smell was amazing.

    Of course, having grown up some, I realize that mama’s sauce was designed for heart failure. Two cups of sugar? Diabetic heart failure. My meatballs are more heart-smart, my sauce has “no sugar added,” and my spaghetti? I use Weight Watchers “Skinny Pasta” made from Japanese Konjac noodles. No net carbs, no sodium, almost no calories. Not much flavor by themselves, either, though they do take on the flavor of whatever they’re mixed with.

    It isn’t at all the same as the stuff I grew up on, but it’s a compromise “I can live with.”

  9. James Beard has a recipe called “fresh tomato sauce and duxelles” which is wonderful. It has few ingredients: fresh tomatoes, butter, duxelles, finely minced green onions) (also called spring onions, parmesan, spaghetti. And it is easy to make for one or two or for a large group. His version is better than mine but mine is easily expandable.

    Duxelles as I make them are a pound of mushrooms ground to a paste with a couple of cloves of garlic. Then slowly sautéed in about a cup (1 cube of butter) until they look dry and crumbly – like cooked hamburger (minced beef). It goes very, very slowly unless you squeeze out some of the moisture first. Even then it takes me 30 minutes to an hour. This makes a lot but it freezes well and you are now ahead of the game when you want a quick one-dish dinner.

    For two people, while the pasta is cooking, I sauté about 1-1/2 to 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (usually I use Costco fresh campari tomatoes when garden fresh are not available) sautéed briefly in about 3 to 4 Tablespoons of butter. The tomatoes need to just be heated through. I add 2 tablespoons duxelles, while they are still frozen if they are out of the freezer, otherwise just the unfrozen fresh-made batch of duxelles. Add salt to the sauce if you want. Toss the sauce with the cooked spaghetti, sprinkle with minced (uncooked) green onion (I use one small green onion per person or a tablespoon minced chives per person if I have no onions), top with grated parmesan. This is a dish that surpasses its components. We have it every couple of weeks. It has so much fresh tomato and green onion that I don’t feel the need for a vegetable with it. It goes well with a light red wine.

    1. I think I’ll try this, but one cube of butter is one-half cup — I melt enough for popcorn to be absolutely certain! It does sound wonderful, and just the think after weeks of holiday food.

      1. Your right. It is one-half cup and I double checked with James whose version is twice the size of mine. But this is enough duxelles to last me for several months since I only use 2 tablespoons, which is twice what the original recipe calls for. I probably should go back to the original recipe for a tune up. The first time I made it for a vegetarian friend, he kept saying that it was the best spaghetti he had ever had. And after years of cooking this with out looking at the recipe, it may have strayed too much. But I still love it.

  10. Jennifer Cornbleet has a good raw zucchini marinara recipe if you decide to make raw veggie noodles. She is right. They do soak up the flavor of any sauce, and they do mimic the taste and feel of pasta noodles.

    I have also been known to roast a spaghetti squash and add it to my sauce instead of noodles. More crunchy. Not as easy to pretend I am eating pasta, but still savory and good.

  11. I have friends who swear by spaghetti squash, but I can’t stand the texture. I like spiralized zucchini with a sturdy thick meat sauce, but I can’t have it very often or my tastebuds start to rebel. I’d never thought to do sweet potato noodles with a peanut sauce, but I’m totally trying that! Not tonight, though – birthday dinner with friends tonight to celebrate my 50th.

    1. Happy birthday Michelle. Fifty was the start of a great decade. Less pain and more money than once you are retired. Enjoy your party.

  12. For vegetarians or broccoli lovers, I make broccoli pasta. I combine one can of petite diced tomatoes, frozen broccoli florets, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, oregano, and basil and nuke in the microwave until the broccoli is done. I pour this over whole grain thin spaghetti and top with cheese. It’s quick and tasty and at the same time nutritious.

    I also make my own marinara sauce in large batches to put containers of sauce in the freezer for later use.

  13. My first weekend at college, I went to another dorm for dinner and was warned not to eat the spaghetti, because it was awful. I got a plateful anyway, figuring it’s impossible to truly screw up spaghetti.

    I was wrong.

  14. I wanted to make lasagna, but there are no Smart Balance lasagna noodles so I’ve decided to do the layers with spaghetti instead.

    Still not sure about zucchini and a spiralizer. Can you taste the zucchini?

    I wonder if you can spiralize dill pickles. Not for spaghetti, but maybe for tuna salad. Hmmm.

    1. Don’t get the spiralizer unless you have a Kitchenaid mixer. They make one you attach to it and it’s so easy. I make a lot and freeze the extra on a cookie sheet with a parchment layer overnight then put in ziplock and freeze. I’m not a zucchini fan but zoodles are a gift from the gods! Make you sauce.and then just put them in for a bit. You don’t want them mushy. Have fun.

    2. The spiralize her I have is made by Oxo. It had really good reviews and it works well. It has a nice suction cup that you can use to stabilize it to the counter. It is also significantly cheaper than the KitchenAid attachment. I’m not really a fan of zucchini but the spiralized version a.k.a. zoodles really works well and my husband and I both like them. You can also use zucchini sliced lengthwise for lasagna noodles but I wouldn’t want to use the part with the seeds. I’ve also tried using the flatter blade to create sweet potato chips.

      Here’s a horrificly long link to the one I bought

    3. I can taste the zucchini, which is why I use lots of thick sauce. OTOH, I don’t cook the zoodles because I can’t seem to avoid making them mushy, so you might not be able to taste them if they’re cooked. Now I’m wondering how they’d be if I roasted them a little instead of boiling. I’ll have to try that.

      I think you could totally spiralize dill pickles. Might be a little overpowering for tuna salad, though. You could probably work out a ratio you like…

    4. I have a cheap, hand-crank spiralizer I like. You’re left with a long, wobbly, phallic core of zucchini with a kind of roundish handle on the bottom. My dog likes to play with it. You are welcome for the mental image. 🙂

  15. Not spaghetti, but I did make a cheat’s minestrone using conchiglie today. The heatwave finally broke with a storm last night and I can eat cooked food again. I’ve been living on peach and tomato salsa and avocado toast for a week now.

  16. I’m making pesto lasagne for my son tomorrow night for his last dinner before he goes back to college. Truly yummy.

  17. One of our favorite restaurants has all-you-can-eat spaghetti on Tuesdays, and they always give you one serving to go.

    Many many years ago my parents lived in an Italian neighborhood in Rhode Island. One day, Mom was cooking dinner and the old Italian grandmother next door came over and took a big sniff and asked with disgust, “what are you cooking?”. Mom replied “spaghetti sauce.”. The neighbor sniffed the pot, tasted it and went “bah. This is not spaghetti sauce. ” And threw it away, which made mom panic since they were starving college students with two little kids. The neighbor brought over some jars of homemade sauce for dinner and taught Mom to make her spaghetti sauce.
    It is a multiple day process. Start with a large pot of seasoned tomatoes. Day one you out a pork roast in the tomatoes to simmer over night. The next day you take out the pork roast, serve it for dinner, and put a chicken in the pot of tomatoes. The next day the chicken is served for dinner and you put sausages in the tomatoes. This continues with different cuts for meat for 5-6 days and at the end, you bottle up the sauce and you are set for a while. Mother has made it once in my lifetime and it was fabulous. I want to try it some day, but I don’t can and have limited freezer space.

    1. Do you know what the tomatoes were seasoned with? I have both freezer space & the ability to can. Would love to know more details as it sounds wonderful!

    2. Which makes me think of the running joke/not really a joke among my Italian in-laws: “Her sauce is pretty good…ehh, not as good as mine.”

      1. I wish I had les recettes de ma mère, Alice, ma tante, Cécile et ma grand-mère, leur mère. (The recipes of my mother, Alice, my aunt, Cecile, and my grandmother, their mother.) I don’t think I would follow any of them – recipes for diabetic heart attacks – but they’d make excellent starting points. Are your in-laws like that?

        1. No recipes – it’s all “a pinch of this” and “a handful of tomatoes” that. But they don’t put in sugar, and they use olive oil.


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