Wow. A real blast from the past with this one.
Like the side of the box states “a homemade dish like your Mom made is only minutes away.” This was a staple of our family dinners when I was growing up. My mom always started off by first browning ground beef in the pan and then making the sauce. Green beans or corn usually accompanied the dinner and Gonnella French bread was there to mop the sauce up with.
I believe that this was my introduction to classic Italian cuisine. Now stop. Just stop. I know this isn’t REAL Italian cuisine but, coming from a small city smack up against the south side of Chicago that was mainly Czech, Slovak, and Polish, that green box was my introduction to a tangy meal that would start me on the road to seek out Italian restaurants in the Windy City.
I recently picked up some ground sirloin, a 6oz can of Red Gold tomato paste, and that green box with its promise of Spaghetti Classics and Tangy Italian.
Like my mother did, I began by browning ground beef in a sauté pan making sure not to have the heat up too high so there would be minimal grease to clean up. I was tempted to add some olive oil to the pan but held off. I wanted the real flavor.
While I got a pan of water going for the pasta I put some garlic breadsticks into the oven.
Soon I was ready to add the tomato paste, two cans of water, and spice mix that would (when allowed to simmer for 10 minutes) miraculously transform themselves into a sauce similar to what I could only imagine Clemenza produced when they went to the mattresses. Amazing.
I drained the spaghetti and rinsed it in warm water. Half of it went into my favorite pasta bowl followed by a ladle of the tangy sauce. It smelled like I remembered: tomato, beef, garlic, oregano, basil, and onion. I tore open the little packet of Parmesan cheese (complete with anti-caking agent) and sprinkled some over the sauce. Soon I was mixing it into the sauce and pasta while the smell triggered memories from my childhood.
I don’t know how many remember the old Prince Spaghetti commercial with Anthony, abandoning his friends and running home to dinner. That’s how I looked forward to that green box dinner with family. Don’t get me wrong; my mother was a great cook who always had a tasty meal for dinner and gave me my first encouragement to cook. There was something about that spaghetti dinner though, that made it special. Or maybe it’s just the MSG talking.
I can only hope the people at Kraft who thought up this dinner and the marketing people who came up with the packaging got more that a thank you for this product. As for me, I can only give it my highest praise by saying I would recommend this spaghetti dinner to anyone.