Introduction: Homemade SpaghettiO's
SpaghettiO's are a childhood comfort food here in the United States. My daughter loves them and even I as an adult crave them from time to time. The one thing I can't stand is all the junk they jam into their cans! Easy fix: I make my own! I whip up a batch and jar the leftovers. This way I know EXACTLY what go into them!! Unlike many copy-cat recipes, they look and taste JUST like off the shelf SpaghettiO's!
Step 1: Make the Sauce: Part 1
Take the whole tomatoes and crush them with your hand into a large pot. Add the tomato paste and one can worth (6oz) of water into the pot. Using either a hand blender or traditional blender, puree the tomatoes until smooth.
Add the salt, corn syrup and bay leaves to the pot. This recipe calls for corn syrup, and a decent amount of it, because I was trying to exactly replicate the sauce found in the can. You can use granulated sugar or lesson the amount of corn syrup used to your desired taste.
Usually when I make this at home, I toss in some extra vegetables such as carrots, celery and bell peppers. Its an easy way to sneak more vegetables into my kids diets. It also adds great flavor! I did not include vegetables in this recipe for authentic reasons. If you want to add vegetables, give them a quick chop and add them to the sauce at this point.
Bring the pot to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. If you added vegetables, you will need to puree the sauce again after it's simmered. Make sure you remove the bay leaves BEFORE you puree the sauce again.
Strain the sauce through a fine wire strainer. You may need to use a spatula to help the sauce along. Straining the sauce is only necessary to achieve the super smooth sauce like the can version. I usually skip this step.
Step 2: Make the Sauce: Part 2
Slowly whisk 1 cup of the tomato sauce into the milk and then add the mixture back into the sauce. This process will temper the milk and prevent it from curdling in the pot.
Mix about 1/2 cup of the sauce with the corn starch and add the mixture back into the tomato sauce.
Whisk in the powdered cheese and heat the sauce until it has thickened a bit, about another 5 minutes. I don't usually add the cheese, but it really is that one last ingredient you need to achieve the classic SpaghettiO flavor! You can also substitute 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese if you prefer. It doesn't taste quite the same, but it's still pretty good.
Step 3: Finishing the SpaghettiO's
Boil the pasta rings/alphabets according to the package, then allow to cook an additional 2-3 minutes. You do not want al dente pasta, in fact you want slightly over cooked pasta. The O's in SpaghettiO's are super soft! Drain the noodles and add them to your sauce and Enjoy!!
Allow left over SpaghettiO's to cool to room temperature before pouring into jars. You now have single servings of SpaghettiO's ready to go!! Place the room temperature jars in the freezer. They will stay fresh for up to 3 months!
Step 4: Reheat Frozen Jars
If you know your going to use a jar the next day, its best to let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. If you don't have enough time to thaw it in the refrigerator, let the jar soak in a bath of lukewarm water for 10-15 minutes. Its important not to thaw it in really hot water. The glass does not like sudden temperature changes and could shatter.
Remove the cap and gently shake the SpaghettiO's into a small sauce pan. Heat over medium low until the pasta is warm.