National Spaghetti Day

National Spaghetti Day on January 4th offers an opportunity to pick your sauce and add it to that long, thin cylindrical pasta of Italian and Sicilian origin.  There are a variety of different pasta dishes based on spaghetti, and the sauce determines most of them.

In celebration of National Spaghetti Day, here are a few fun facts about spaghetti to get you in the mood to celebrate:

  • Italians never use a spoon and fork when eating spaghetti, this is only an American habit. In Italy, you twirl a fork against the dish to eat it.
  • The world’s largest bowl of spaghetti was created in March 2010 by a restaurant outside of Los Angeles, called Buca di Beppo, who filled a swimming pool with more than 13,780 lbs of pasta.
  • Believed to be one of the first times TV was used to stage an April Fools’ Day hoax, on April 1st, 1957 BBC convinced its watchers that spaghetti noodles grow on trees and that frost impairs the flavor and growth of each spaghetti strand.
  • “Spaghetti” is the plural form of the Italian word spaghetto, meaning “thin string” or “twine.”
  • World War II was one of the most important times for spaghetti in American history due to the American soldiers, who found spaghetti when introduced to European cuisine and began to request it when they came home.
RECIPE COURTESY OF KATIE LEE BIEGEL

Spaghetti Pie – Serves 8-10

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing the pan
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti
1 pound ground beef (85 percent lean)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cups marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought (I like Rao’s)
1/2 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
3 large eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
1 cup shredded mozzarella

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-3-inch round cake pan with cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook for 3 to 4 minutes less than the package recommends, so that it is very al dente. Drain and reserve.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the beef, 5 to 8 minutes, season with salt and pepper. Transfer the beef to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel. Heat the olive oil in the skillet over medium heat and sauté the onions until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the marinara, ricotta, parsley, eggs, 1/2 cup of the Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the cooked spaghetti, beef and onions and toss to evenly coat. Transfer to the prepared pan, top with the mozzarella and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan. Bake until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes, then cut into wedges and serve.

Products you can use to make this: Microwave Pasta Cooker – Item #2633, 12″ Nonstick Skillet – Item # 2737, Rockcrok Everyday Pan Item # 3139

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