🎋Limp Noodles🎋… by JoAnn

A plate of noodles on top of a white surface.

For the past week, I have been craving homemade spaghetti. The kind I made for my children when they were growing up. Just plain old spaghetti, I call it. Nothing expensive or too time-consuming. In other words, the easy American version.

I started with a pound or more of ground turkey meat. I chose this instead of ground beef for several reasons. One, it is less expensive than beef, making it the more budget-friendly option. Two, it is healthier, in my opinion. There is less fat; therefore, my body digests it much better than beef. Beef is also known to cause inflammation, and I avoid foods that trigger my health issues. Third, I don’t have to drain it after cooking because there is virtually no fat in ground turkey. I always hated draining the fat off ground beef. Yuck.

I started my sauce by placing a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in my skillet, along with one pat of butter. I then add one-half teaspoon of celery seeds and a heaping tablespoon of chopped garlic. To that, I added a medium chopped onion. Then once the onions are browned and slightly transparent, I add the ground turkey meat. Once all that has been cooked, I add chopped tomatoes and tomato paste. Then salt and pepper to taste, plus a little sugar if the tomatoes are too sour. I let that simmer for a bit to allow all the flavors to come together. If I’m in the mood, I will sprinkle in some oregano.

This is a simple tomato sauce for any pasta dish. I especially love it for spaghetti noodles. My children loved my simple spaghetti. Eventually, the time came for me to make it for my granddaughters, and they too, loved it.

Every time I cook spaghetti noodles, I ask who in the world decided to create such a thing? Have you ever looked at a dry spaghetti noodle? It is so thin and small, easily broken, and doesn’t even resemble food. Due to convenience, I’m sure the store-bought noodles that many of us use are all machine-made somewhere in a factory. Imagine that, a noodle factory. It doesn’t sound very appetizing. But making noodles from scratch sounds way too complicated for this grandma.

Cooking spaghetti noodles can be tricky. They must be done in a way that tastes good, holds the sauce well, and has a nice chew. But cook them too long, and you have a limp noodle with no texture and tastes like flour mush. The best thing to do is to not walk away when cooking your noodles. Have the water boiling before you add them to the pot, and do not walk away. Check often, and when they are the perfect texture, known as “al dente,” drain them in a colander and rinse immediately with cool water to stop the cooking process. Nothing is more pleasing to me when cooking than knowing my noodles are perfectly al dente. It is true that your pasta dish is only as good as your noodles. Mushy noodles will ruin the whole dish, no matter how good your sauce is.

As I’ve gotten older and I try to watch my carb intake, I usually eat my pasta dishes without bread. But this time, I was craving the spaghetti meal I had made for my family for so many years. So I bought a loaf of sliced sourdough bread and plan to make garlic toast with my spaghetti. For old times’ sake, I won’t make it a regular thing. Wink.

I’m looking forward to my dinner tonight. How about you?