Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Homemade SpaghettiOs

This homemade version of my childhood favorite canned pasta with meatballs is 100x better than the kind found in the pantry!

This is my second time attempting homemade SpaghettiOs. I admittedly loved the canned stuff as a kid/poor college student but just couldn't buy it anymore. I desperately wanted a relatively easy way to fill my SpaghettiOs void! The first time flopped; my meatballs fell apart, my sauce was thin, and I was incredibly frustrated by the end.

Couple years later, I found the courage to try it again thanks to everyone's favorite America's Test Kitchen. Is there anything they can't do?

This time was a huge success! I desperately wanted to hoard the entire pot for myself but finally relented and let my husband enjoy it, too. It was relatively easy - took only 1 pot and about 45 minutes, much of which is hand's off. The use of an immersion blender shaves tons of time and hassle - you should definitely invest in one (they are around $15 and take up very little space!).

You could make your own pesto... but in this recipe, it's hardly worth the effort. Save the homemade version for dishes that let it shine!

Homemade SpaghettiOs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
3.5 cups chicken broth
1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
8 ounces meatloaf mix (50% lean ground beef & 50% ground pork)
1/4 cup basil pesto
1/4 cup panko
salt and pepper
1 cup (4 ounces) ditalini

In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and carrot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the broth and tomatoes with their juices. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl mix together the ground meat, pesto, panko, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Pinch off heaping teaspoons of meat mixture and roll into small, 3/4-inch meatballs (there should be around 32 total).

Remove the pot from heat and puree the soup using your immersion blender. Once the soup is smooth, move the pot back to the burner and bring it back to a simmer. Stir in the pasta and carefully add the meatballs. Continue to simmer, uncovered, until the pasta is tender and the meatballs are cooked through, 10-12 minutes. Be careful when stirring to avoid breaking apart the meatballs.

Season with additional salt and pepper, if needed, and carefully ladle into bowls.

Source: adapted from America's Test Kitchen

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