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Who doesn’t like pasta?

Grace adds grape tomatoes and caramelized sweet onions to the pasta while making the spaghetti lovers' dream dish.
Grace adds grape tomatoes and caramelized sweet onions to the pasta while making the spaghetti lovers' dream dish.

I never met a man who didn’t like spaghetti. I didn’t say there was no such man, just that I never met him. In fact, I can’t remember ever meeting a woman who didn’t like pasta, either. I knew a couple of babies who did not like the red sauce. I think it was the spice, because they loved pasta with butter on it.

In another family, all loved pasta, but one only ate it with Alfredo sauce. Cooking pasta for that family was easy. The cook just made a large pot of plain pasta, tossed it in butter, and put it on the table. Each person dug in. 

Some topped it with red sauce, some with Alfredo, others with just butter and Parmesan cheese. Everyone was happy. Whatever was left over was placed in the refrigerator for anyone who wanted to dip in, top with their favorite dressing and run it through the microwave. If there was any left the next day, it could be made into a cold salad, turned into a casserole, or just heated up again.

If you have everyone on the same page, liking spaghetti in all its forms, here is one they will love. It is kind of an upside-down pasta, with the delicious caramelized onions and garlic spread over the top of a very long thin angel-hair spaghetti. Plenty good enough for company any night. I call this the:

lovers’ dream

This recipe is the result of a family’s love of pasta, mixed with a little bit of pepper for heat, and some smoky bacon, and set off with a good portion of sassy little sauteed grape tomatoes. If you want to, you could jazz up the dish with a few fresh basil leaves. 

Top off the whole dish with a caramelized onion and garlic pasta. You will have yourself a feast, for sure!

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

¼ cup butter, cubed

2 large sweet onions, thinly sliced

¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1⁄8 teaspoon salt

8 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

¼ cup olive oil, divided

1 package (16 ounces) uncooked angel-hair pasta

9 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

2/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

Fresh basil leaves, optional

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter. Add the onions, pepper flakes and salt; saute until onions are tender. Stir in garlic. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 40 minutes or until onions are deep golden-brown. Add the tomatoes, vinegar and 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta; toss with onion mixture.

Drizzle with remaining olive oil. Sprinkle with bacon, cheese, and pepper; heat through. Garnish with basil if desired.

Nutritional facts: 1 1/2 cups equals 574 calories, 24 g fat (9 g saturated fat), 37 mg cholesterol, 495 mg sodium, 71 g carbohydrate, 4 g fiber, 18 g protein.

Spaghetti pie

This is another version of the spaghetti pie we ran a few years ago. It was sent to us by a Dixon reader, and is quite different from the first. I have not tried this one, but the first one was very good. If you have lost the first one or never had it, please let me know and I will run it again.

1 (6-ounce) package spaghetti

2 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 eggs, beaten

1 pound lean ground beef

½ cup chopped onion

1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper

1 clove garlic, minced

1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup cottage cheese

½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook and drain spaghetti. Stir in margarine, Parmesan cheese and eggs while spaghetti is hot. Form spaghetti mixture into a crust in a buttered 10-inch pie plate.

In a skillet, cook the beef, onion, green pepper and garlic. Drain off the fat and stir in the undrained tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar and oregano. Heat through.

Spread cottage cheese over the spaghetti crust then pour in the beef and tomato mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese over the top of the pie, then bake for 5 minutes longer, until cheese melts.

Spaghetti sauce

Total time: 1 hour, 29 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 20 minutes

Serves: 10

2 pounds Italian sausage, casings removed (mild or hot)

1 small onion, chopped (optional)

3 or 4 garlic cloves, minced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes

2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste

2 (15-ounce) cans tomato sauce

2 cups water (for a long period of simmering for flavors to meld. If you don’t want to simmer it as long, add less)

3 teaspoons basil

2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes

1 ½ teaspoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon salt

¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

¼ teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper

¼ cup red wine

-Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen

Did you know?

If you’ve always thought that the Italians gave birth to pasta, you’d be mistaken. The idea of the noodle is actually a Chinese invention that’s more than 4,000 years old. The Romans got hold of the stuff, however, and added their own spin by changing the ingredient base from rice flour to semolina flour. Pasta making has changed very little since the early days, except for some automation that was brought about by pasta machines. But don’t worry about that, you can just buy it at the store.

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