Store-bought, canned, o-shaped pasta in tomato sauce was a favourite meal of every kid in the 80s and 90s. Homemade Copycat Spaghettios allows you to enjoy your favourite childhood pasta without all of the preservatives and additives. The sauce is so quick and easy to make, and this dish comes together in the amount of time it takes to boil the pasta!
HOMEMADE COPYCAT SPAGHETTIOS
Dear Reader, I cannot tell you how often my siblings and I would have Spaghettios for a weekday lunch. My parents both worked seasonally, so many times, we were left to fend for ourselves. We had the luxury of walking home from school every day for lunch. If both mom and dad were at work, we would either have a ham and cheese sandwich, a bowl of Kraft Dinner, or some type of canned pasta resembling these Homemade Copycat Spaghettios.
In fact, during the winter months with both of our parents were not working, we would have canned pasta sometimes too. I remember well having canned pasta in tomato sauce sandwiched between two slices of buttered toast. It was good! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it! Just like the English love their beans on toast, we loved our Spagettios on toast.
It’s been a long while since I have had a store-bought can of Spaghettios. But, when I happened to see Anelli Siciliani (O-shaped pasta) on Amazon, I had to have them. Then, I set out to source the best copycat version of Spaghettios I could find. The first batch tasted great, but the consistency wasn’t right. It was recommended that shredded cheese be melted into the sauce. No! The sauce is much better without the cheese. The second batch you see here. It was perfect!
A LITTLE SPAGHETTIOS TRIVIA
Did you know that Spahettios was originally owned and sold under the brand Franco-American? The company had been in production since 1887. They were purchased by the Campbell Soup Company in 1915. Spaghettios were not made and sold until 1965, and they were marketed and sold under the Franco-American brand.
In 2004, Spaghettios was re-branded and marketed under the Campbell’s name and logo. That was when I stopped buying them as frequently. Campbell’s can argue that the recipe didn’t change, and that’s fine. I’ll believe them. But, do you know what else didn’t change? My taste buds! The Campbell’s brand, while quite good, is not as good as the Franco-American brand. Maybe it’s all in my head!
Do you know what the inspiration behind Spaghettios was? As the story goes, the concept was created to help eliminate the struggle that young kids have when trying to eat long spaghetti noodles. The Os were less messy and easier to fit on a spoon or fork.
HERE’S WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- O-Shaped Pasta – The pasta is called anelli siciliani. I found it on Amazon. Here’s the link. Can you use other pasta shapes? Yes. But, if you do, you can’t call the finished recipe Spaghettios. Ha!
- Tomato Sauce – Use plain tomato sauce. Don’t use the sauce that has added flavour or ingredients.
- Tomato Paste – This helps to thicken the sauce, adds lots of tomato flavour, and certainly adds to the colour.
- Milk – It helps to make the sauce a little bit creamier, and it gets that orangey colour we all associate with Spaghettios.
- Butter – The butter adds a glossy richness to the sauce.
- Honey – This is optional. I tried to sauce without the honey and although it tasted good, it did not taste close enough to stuff in the can. It really does need the honey to get that familiar sweet taste.
- Spices – There’s six in total, and they all do their part to make the flavour just right. You will need salt, ground black pepper, onion and garlic powder, paprika, and thyme.
- Cheese – The cheese is optional. It tastes great in the sauce, but your sauce will not be as smooth. If you want to add it, it’s up to you.
PREPARING HOMEMADE COPYCAT SPAGHETTIOS
Once you gather all of your ingredients together, this pasta couldn’t get much easier. I’d go as far as stating that preparing Spaghettios from this recipe is just as easy as opening a can. Really, it’s that easy!
Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions. Be sure to salt the pasta water before it comes to a boil. If you’re not sure how much salt to use, use this general rule. For every pound of pasta, use 16 cups of water and one tablespoon of salt. Boil the water first. Add the salt and stir into the water. Next, add the pasta and cook until just done. Properly cooked pasta should still be a little firm in the center.
While the pasta is cooking, add all of the other ingredients (except the shredded cheese) to a sauce pan. Over medium heat, whisk the ingredients together and cook until the butter is melted and the sauce is simmering. (If you are adding the shredded cheese, do so now. Use a rubber spatula to fold it into the sauce until melted and fully incorporated.) Continue to simmer, stirring frequently.
Drain the cooked pasta well. Transfer it to the saucepan with the sauce. Stir the pasta into the sauce and evenly coated. Turn off the heat. Plate the pasta and enjoy.
SAUCE – MORE OR LESS
If you are a fan of canned Spaghettios, you might notice that my homemade version is less saucy than the canned version. Canned spaghettios have a lot of sauce! My recipe has plenty of sauce, but it’s not as runny as the sauce found in the cans. If you would like a saucier sauce, add four tablespoons of pasta water and two extra tablespoons of milk to your sauce before stirring in the cooked pasta.
My suggestion is to save that for the next time you prepare this Homemade Copycat Spaghettios recipe. I am a huge fan of spaghettios and I found that the thicker sauce, like the sauce you see in the photos, was much better than a runnier, thinner sauce. But, you do you, Dear Reader! Happy eating!
Homemade Copycat Spaghettios
- 450 grams O-shaped pasta
- 16 ounces tomato sauce
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus salt for pasta water)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 6 tablespoons milk
- 2 tablespoons salted butter
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, optional
- Start by cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, add all of the other ingredients (except the shredded cheese) to a sauce pan.
- Over medium heat, whisk the ingredients together and cook until the butter is melted and the sauce is simmering. (If you are adding the shredded cheese, do so now. Use a rubber spatula to fold it into the sauce until melted and fully incorporated.) Continue to simmer, stirring frequently.
- Drain the cooked pasta well. Transfer it to the saucepan with the sauce. Stir the pasta into the sauce and evenly coated. Turn off the heat. Plate the pasta and enjoy.