I've never published a response to any of my phoodographandfinds entries, however today is the exception. I think most non-believers, after reading Sarah Beth's comment, may be inspired enough to try this age-old recipe. Maybe...just maybe I would get my nephew Jeremy to try my spaghetti with butter and ketchup recipe.
Although he is a big fan of my cooking, he couldn't imagine how such a dish could taste good. Don't worry Jeremy... Your dad will try it and then you will try it...and you'll wonder why you waited so long. Right, Sara-Beth?
Oh Bert! What a delight finding you has been. I grew up with spaghetti and ketchup as a traditional family dish. My Russian immigrant grandmother made it for her daughters and the one who was her mother made it for me! To this day, it is my go-to crappy day comfort food!
However, our recipe does not add any pasta water, and we put a shameful amount of butter back into the heavy stockpot in which we boiled the spaghetti and then we squirt the ketchup all over, stirring with a fork to get that butter and ketchup distributed properly into the golden orange color and then we walk away and let it "burn" a little to get these golden (to black) crispy bits which we mix back in and crown portions of this dish with. Depending on how much crispy you got, was how much Mom loved you that night!
I have perfected this comfort dish, that up until today I thought only I ate and only when I was alone, by burning some and then redistributing the pasta on the bottom of the pot to burn more and repeating this until I have the perfect balance of soft and tender with crispy and fried!
YUM! And thanks for making me feel better about this dish - and myself - you took the shame out of my comfort food for me!
Bert, I am still agog that this is a "real" dish with an actual recipe! And with your background in Mediterranean cooking, I cannot believe you actually "slum" with such a lowly pasta preparation as this! But when I saw that tell-tale orange colored residue left on the bottom of the plates pictured, I knew you were the real deal! I came back to show someone proudly that my "thing" is a real thing and found your response, thanks!
Also, now your blog has me wondering about a line from an old and wonderful Neil Simon play (I think Brighton Beach Memoires) when Eugene, whom we follow through the rest of this trilogy is lamenting his desire and his chances to play for the Yankees in the 1950's and he comes out with this line:
Eugene: I'll never make it with the Yankees. All the great Yankees are Italian. My mother makes spaghetti with ketchup – what chance do I have?
The New York crowd I was in roared and I remember poking my husband at the time as if to say, "ya see, I'm not crazy" but he later told me that the line was in there to demonstrate how far he was from Italian. Knowing Neil Simon's background, I now have to wonder!
Bert, do let me know if as a real chef, you can actually burn this a bit; and if you think it's an improvement!?! Maybe your nephew will like the "cracklings" and feel loved extra?
You still there?
Make the pasta the way you always did and put it in a baking pan.
Cook until crisp on the bottom