Lately I’ve been obsessed with high fructose corn syrup. Obsessed as in I won’t touch the stuff. Any time I buy something at the store I browse the ingredients and if HFCS is anywhere on the label (except when it’s preceded by “NO”) then I put it back on the shelf. I now make my own barbecue sauce. I’ve made my own ketchup. And now…
I love those little O’s in that slightly sweet tomato sauce that tastes nothing like tomatoes. I can’t help it. My idea of a comfort food lunch is a bowl of canned pasta served with a side of grilled cheese, and that sandwich is made with ‘murican cheese on plain ol’ sandwich bread with real butter, if you please.
The other day I had a craving for both of those culinary sins. I went to the store, picked up the can… and then promptly put it back down and Googled “Spaghettio’s recipe.”
I came across a recipe by the lovely Chocolate Covered Katie, who’s been on the Today Show, CNN, Dr. Oz, etc etc. She even had the round O-shaped pasta, that impressive overachiever. The reviews were mainly of the “this looks awesome and I want to try it” flavor and the “OMG I LOVE SPAGHETTIO’S” rave instead of comments on how the recipe worked, but I decided to make it and see what happened. I was desperate, man. Besides, her favorite food is chocolate. How could we go wrong?
Side note: I am thrilled more than I should be by the number of no-longer-closet canned pasta lovers. I am not alone.
Short story: not quite the canned pasta we know and love, but close enough to pass muster (not mustard – it’s not that kind of sandwich).
Long story: Katie uses ingredients like butter-type spread and nutritional yeast. There’s nothing wrong with those, but I don’t have them in stock and am unlikely to anytime soon, so I changed things a bit. I also could not find no-salt-added tomato sauce in my closest grocery store, although I did find plenty with sea salt, so I reduced the amount of salt in the recipe. As far as the pinch of stevia goes, I use the liquid sweetener in my coffee so I just added a quick squeeze. (The blue stuff gives me headaches, the big stuff is as bad as HFCS, and real sugar puts me to sleep.)
Here’s what I did. Would I make it again? Yes. Heck yes. Oooey gooey grilled cheese with a side of fake canned pasta yes.
- 15oz can tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp whole milk (or 2%)
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/3 c grated parmesan cheese
- Squeeze liquid stevia (or pinch of sweetener of choice)
- 1 c small pasta. I used ditali
- Prepare the pasta according to the directions
- As the pasta is cooking, mix the remaining ingredients in a small pan.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Drain the pasta (do not rinse!) and pat dry.
- Once the butter has melted add the pasta to the sauce.
- Stir and serve with a big spoon and some grilled cheese.
- Smile like the big kid you are.