Monday, March 2, 2009

Uh–Oh Spaghetti-O’s – Checkin the Labels

OK, first, and I am almost ashamed to admit this, I developed a taste for Spaghetti-O’s as an adult, during what I refer to as my Udon Period. Sounds artsy doesn’t it? Yeah, it’s basically a Shee-shee Poo-poo way of saying, “I live on Ramen Noodles”. Yes, it’s true that “Soba” would be a more accurate description of the noodle itself, the idea is the same. -- I didn’t know how to cook.

Interspersed between Ramen with egg, Ramen with a can of Tuna dumped into it and Ramen with celery and carrot chunks, was the occasional canned meal. Ah yes, at a young age I had my own “personal chef” named Boyarde who made the most delicious Ravioli and Beef-a-Roni, or at least that is what I told myself. When Mr. Boyarde wasn't available, there was always Franco-American Spaghetti-O’s, with or with or without meatballs. Always with a side of canned Green Beans, heated in the microwave, of course, cause I only owned 1 sauce pan, and that had Spaghetti-O’s in it.

Luckily, I am older and wiser now... OK, at least the older part is true. I now try to avoid processed food, and eat fairly healthy. Yes, I am fond of Butter, Heavy Cream, Cheese and Whole Milk. But, I can safely assume that since humanity has been eating these foods for a thousand years, on some level our digestion has adapted over time to deal with them in a proper manner…

Much easier, at least, than the NEW “foods” of the last 75 years, such as --
  • Monosodium Glutamate (MSG – Flavor enhancer)
  • Potassium Hydrogen Sulfite (Preservative)
  • Propylene Glycol (Humectant - keeps food from drying out)
  • Magnesium Gluconate (Strengthens food for production – canned fruits)
  • Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (Meat replacer)
  • Hydrogenated Plant oils (Plastic in your liver anyone?)
  • Protein Isolates (Meat replacer)
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup (in everything)
  • Polydimethylsiloxane (anti-foaming agent in soda)
  • Calcium Propionate, (Preservative)
  • Sodium Pyrophosphate (Thickener - see Jell-O Pudding Cups)
The scariest part about the above list, is that it is a mere grain in the salt box of processed food additives, I did not even touch on artificial flavoring chemicals like Diecetyl “Butter Flavor” used in margarines and butter flavored Crisco.

Sorry, I’ll take the real butter… That is my personal choice.

Now, all that aside, I STILL have a soft spot for Spaghetti-O’s, even though I know they are horrible, I just like ‘em. It reminds me of a simpler time. But in an effort to control my intake of unnecessary food toxins, I have opted to, instead, create my own version of Spaghetti-O’s, using my own sauce, cheddar cheese (Yes, there is cheddar in Spaghetti-O’s, go figure) and Anelli (Anelletti pl.).

Yeah, Franco-American did not invent that particular pasta shape as a marketing ploy or anything, it’s made with a ring shaped pasta from Sicily, properly called anelli siciliani.

As far as the spaghetti sauce is concerned, I found a great recipe years ago and have modified to my own taste several times. It simmers for 6 hours before I package it up in 1 quart freezer bags and store when I need it. So if you are interested in a really good “Slow Cooked Tomato Sauce” go ahead and check it out. I do, however, believe that any decent jarred Marinara will work for this just as well...
This is what I did… It was close, but I think it needed more salt and a little sugar, as my sauce isn’t really all that sweet. (Spaghetti-O's contain High Fructose Corn Syrup - Don't ask me why)

Spaghetti-O's From Scratch

1 lb Anelli
1 3/4 cups Marinara Sauce (You may want to adjust the sweetness by adding a little sugar)
1/4 tsp Kosher Salt (You may want to increase this)
2 TB Heavy Cream
1/2 cup Medium or Sharp Cheddar; Shredded

Cook Pasta according to package directions.
Place sauce in a saucepan and heat over low flame, and add salt.

Add Heavy Cream and stir to combine.

Once heated begin adding the Cheddar, stirring to melt.

Place drained pasta in a bowl

Pour sauce over the top and Toss to combine

Serve plain.....

Or with Parmegiano-Reggiano...



Michele said...

Such a funny post! I did not grow up eating Spaghetti O's and since I haven't I don't think I ever will. lol I think recreating it is a really cool idea though! My ex MIL used to make pasta forno with the anelletti and it was soo good. I DID grow up on Campbells soup though and always loved Chicken Noodle O's! Now if you recreated that, I'd pull up a chair! ;-)

You're a smart guy, Shane! Keep up the good work, putting all us other bloggers to shame!

Bob said...

Awesome! I haven't had spaghetti o's in years, I'll have to make some of that. Heh.

Spryte said...

I bet that's so good!!!!!