Cooking Spaghetti Without a Jar

Spaghetti night

It never occurred to me until I was about 25 that one could make pasta without the aid of Prego, Ragu, or the mother of all bargains, Hunts in a can.

For reasons I can’t fully explain even in hindsight, my mother cooked spaghetti for dinner practically every night when I was a teenager. It seems odd to me now, as do many moments of my childhood. But at the time it was a joke between my friends and I.

“Guess what I’m having for dinner?” I would ask my friend on the phone.

“Spaghetti,” she would reply, having heard this joke many times before.

Despite this, I still love pasta with marinara. And I cooked it with the very same Hunts sauce for myself, roommates, boyfriends and dinner guests. Not every day, but frequently. It’s the ultimate simple to make food that costs very little in money or effort.

But knowing what I know now about what a body needs, I realize that spaghetti isn’t the best dinner to eat every night. Not much protein. These days I have pasta once or twice a month.

Pasta without a jar (pictured)
*A note about my cooking: I rarely use recipes. I don’t measure things. I’m vague. I think of cooking as an art, not a science. I think about color as well as flavor. I substitute. I rarely make shopping lists. I buy what looks good. Everything is better with chili peppers. Most things are better with garlic.

“No mistakes, only happy accidents.” -Bob Ross

Preheat oven for roasting. Slice yellow squash, toss in olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, dried oregano, and sea salt. Arrange on roasting pan. Set timer for 20 min.

Slice small yellow onion and 3 Serrano peppers. Sauté in olive oil until onions soften.

In a sauce pan, combine peppers and onions with tomatoes. No good tomatoes in the store right now, I’m using canned crushed tomatoes. Ingredients: tomatoes. Heat over low/medium heat.

In a food processor, chop 6 cloves of garlic, a pile of fresh basil, a bit of asagio cheese, olive oil and sea salt. Add 3/4 of this to the tomato sauce. Spread the rest on sliced bread and heat in oven for 5-10 minutes immediately before serving.

When your 20 min are up, remove squash from oven and turn the slices over. Roast for 10 more minutes.

Boil water and cook pasta. I’m not making pasta today, I’m using boxed. Ingredients: flour, eggs, salt and water.

Toss pasta with sauce and serve with roasted squash on top and bread on the side.

Much tastier than Hunts.

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