My kids are pasta people. They are pizza people, too, but that’s entirely beside the point. Because, no one can eat pizza seven nights a week, but pasta–in it’s delicious varieties and incarnations–might just be a candidate for gracing the dinner table nightly. Of course, the sort of pasta my kids like isn’t the healthy, veggie-filled stuff. They like the kid classics–mac ‘n cheese, ravioli from a can, spaghettio’s. With that in mind, and with a fridge full of fresh tomatoes from our local farmer’s market, I set out this week to create a homemade version of spaghettio’s. I was surprised at how quickly and easily the dish came together, and the kids kept saying, “Mom! This tastes like Spaghettio’s. Only Better!” Looks like I might be a candidate for most pasta-making mom of the year.
When making this recipe, you’re timing will be just right–with everything warm, well-cooked, and ready to be eaten at the exact same moment–if you make the sauce first and get it simmering on the stove, then mix together and bake the meatballs, and finally cook the pasta. Surprisingly, it took less than 30-minutes to get a hot pot of fresh spaghettios on our dinner table. It’s not quite as fast as opening a can, but I think you’ll agree…it’s definitely more delicious!
6 garden-fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 T. brown sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 garlic clove
Place all ingredients in a blender and puree. Pour puree into a large saucepan and bring the mixture to a simmer over medium-high heat (leave uncovered). Allow the sauce mixture to simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often, while you prepare the rest of the meal.
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 c. garlic croutons, finely crushed
In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients with your hands. Roll into small balls, about 1/2″-3/4″ in diameter. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet and bake in an over preheated to 400 degrees for about 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
1 box Barilla Piccolini (mini wagon wheel pasta)
1 tsp. salt
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and salt, cooking until tender, about 6-8 minutes. Drain. Serve topped with fresh-cooked spaghettio’s pasta sauce (recipe above) and mini-meatballs.