“It’s magic you know never believe it’s not so.”
Listen to the More Recipes About Music & Food Spotify Playlist
Ahhh the ’70s. Truly the Golden Age for One Hit Wonders. Brilliant earworm Top 40 confections that somehow have actually stood the test of time. They find their way into commercials. They remain in the cultural zeitgeist decades after their popularity. They did nothing to change the course of music, but they somehow found a way to make their mark and leave a legacy. So it is with the Pilot One Hit that’s the theme here. You’ve heard it in commercials. It’s likely someone somewhere in your life responded to “oh oh oh” with “it’s magic, you know, never believe it’s not so.” This is one of my favorite ’70s songs and kicks in some serious childhood nostalgic vibes whenever I hear it.
No one really needs this recipe, but here it is. In case you are of a certain age, and find yourself in a nostalgic food craving spiral, make this instead of grabbing a can at your local grocer. If you, on the other hand, have no childhood memories of Spaghetti-Os, consider yourself very lucky.
SPAGHETTI-O IT’S MAGIC
An “adult” version of a canned childhood “classic”
Makes more than you really need
2 28-ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
3-4 large garlic cloves, finely grated
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon sugar
4 large sprigs of basil, chiffonade, or 2 teaspoons dried
1/4 cup half & half
12 ounces ring pasta, ditalini, or other short tubular pasta
Purée tomatoes in a food processor until mostly smooth; there should still be some dime-sized pieces remaining. Set aside.
Cook onion and garlic in the same skillet, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent and begins to soften for about 5 minutes; season with salt and pepper. Add tomato paste and cook until brick red, about 1 minute. Add butter, paprika, and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant and butter is melted about 1 minute. Add sugar, basil, half & half, and reserved tomato purée. Reduce heat and simmer until sauce is slightly reduced and flavors have melded about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain and return to pasta pot. Pour sauce over pasta and stir to combine. Transfer to a platter and top with cheese