Oct 1, 2008

Spicing Up Spaghetti

By Natalie Mitts
If you're like most college students, spaghetti is a weekly staple on your menu. Instead of making it the same way every week, try mixing it up a bit.

Sauce: The easiest way to make your spaghetti more interesting is to change up your sauce. Start out by buying a different variety of sauce each week, such as garden variety, roasted red pepper, mushroom and basil or three cheese. If you're adventurous, try making your own sauce. Look online for recipes. Use fresh vegetables and add plenty of spices, such as oregano, basil, parsley or crushed red pepper. Don't forget the fresh garlic. Or, instead of using spaghetti sauce, have noodles with pesto or Alfredo sauce. Both are easy to make, or you can buy bottled versions at the grocery store.

Meat: Add some Italian sausage for a chunky sauce with lots of flavor. You could also add ground beef or meatballs.

Noodles: Buy whole-wheat pasta for a heartier meal. If you just want a different look, try using penne, bow tie or ziti pasta. Even try colored varieties of noodles.

Cheese: Top off your pasta with Parmesan cheese or shredded mozzarella. Or if you're feeling simple, just have the noodles with shredded cheese. It's a lighter dish that still tastes great.

Bread: For a simple side, make some garlic bread. Drizzle leftover hot dog buns with butter and garlic powder, then toast for a few minutes. If you're feeding a large group, buy a loaf of French bread. Slice it most of the way, leaving the bottoms connected. Brush the same butter and garlic powder mixture between each slice. Wrap the loaf in foil and bake it in the oven or toaster oven until the crust is toasted (for about 10 minutes at 350 degrees).

What to do with leftovers:  Put leftover pasta and sauce in a casserole dish. Top it with cheese and bake it in the oven or toaster oven until crisp (about 30 minutes at 35o degrees). This tastes much better than it does after reheating in the microwave.

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