Day 268: Crispy Spaghetti and Meatballs


W chopped a whack of zucchini the other day while he was being photographed “helping” me in the kitchen. (By chopped I mean whacked into big awkward chunks.) So I grated some and used it as an excuse to make zucchini brownies; the rest I chopped and cooked up with some frozen meatballs (light Italian from Superstore) to make spaghetti and meatballs. To be honest, after judging a chili cook-off at lunch I wasn’t much interested in dinner. My stomach was still processing 18 varieties of chili.

I had a fleeting trickle of inspiration to try something new when I found a baggie of cold spaghetti in the fridge; I had read in Real Simple about pressing leftover spaghetti into a hot skillet with Parmesan cheese to make a sort of crispy spaghetti cake, and so gave it a whirl. If I had been more patient it might have worked, but I tried to flip it at the first sign of golden brown and the whole shebang didn’t come with it. It turned into a tasty mess though, and I picked at it before putting it under meatballs for Mike, who likened it to something made by someone who was such a bad cook she couldn’t even make spaghetti without burning it to a crisp. (You were supposed to cook some bacon first, then cook the spaghetti in the bacon grease. It would have been like a huge pasta carbonara chip.


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23 comments on “Day 268: Crispy Spaghetti and Meatballs

  1. The Uphill Gardener
    September 25, 2008 at 5:47 am

    These brownies I must try! I’ve never used a zucchini (or “courgette” in these here parts!) in something sweet before. I don’t really enjoy them in most recipes as they’re quite tasteless but I will try this.

    Question though – 1tsp vanilla – is that extract or essence? In the UK the extract is the expensive one with the good flavour which you don’t normally need to use much of. The essence is usually (at least partially) synthetic and you need to use a lot. Any ideas which you used?
    (formerly Polythionic)

  2. JulieVR
    September 25, 2008 at 7:16 am

    I hate to admit it was artificial vanilla extract, which isn’t as awful as it sounds – I’m stingy with my wonderful pure stuff from Mexico, which is a bit wasted on something like this, where the vanilla flavour is more predominant. I do usually use 2 tsp. when it’s artificial, actually. But like any seasoning it’s a matter of taste, so you could use more or less. Or mix 1 tsp. instant coffee or espresso with 1 tsp. water for a coffee extract that will deepen the chocolate flavour, not make them taste like coffee.

  3. The Uphill Gardener
    September 25, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Urgh instant coffee…even in cooking I can’t use that stuff. I’ll give a coffee-variant a go tonight. I need some cake-type-things for something this weekend.

  4. Christina
    September 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    Oh my Gosh those brownies look to die for!!! At 34 weeks pregnany my will power is weak these days. I’d better not make these right now because I can’t confidently say the whole pan wouldn’t be consumed by …. well … Moi! I’ve got “One Smart Cookie” on my Christmas list so a pan of this deliciousness will be baked eventually!

  5. The Uphill Gardener
    September 25, 2008 at 4:48 pm

    Julie the coffee-version (with proper real grown-up coffee) are to die for!!! I’ll post on my blog tomorrow with the usual blurry photos!

  6. The Uphill Gardener
    September 26, 2008 at 5:21 am

    My variation on your theme:

  7. Lindsay
    September 26, 2008 at 9:03 am

    Hi Julie, I love your site, I’m an RD in Lethbridge and I’ve been recommending some of your fabulous, easy, and healthy recipes to some of my clients. Just a question about the brownies, do you think you could substitute canola oil for the melted butter/margarine?

  8. JulieVR
    September 26, 2008 at 1:31 pm

    Absolutely. In fact I most often use canola oil in cakey baking, but sometimes that buttery flavour is just too important! Canola oil would work very well in these, though.

  9. robyn
    September 30, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Funny….I find instant coffee to be better than regular coffee for baking. More deep and concentrated I think.

  10. The Uphill Gardener
    October 5, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I use espresso, freshly brewed, for baking. It adds a massive kick which instant just doesn’t have. Each to their own though.

  11. Rebecca
    October 8, 2008 at 7:41 pm

    I just made these brownies tonight after thinking about the recipe since I saw it posted on the 24th. SO yummy!!!! I love that I got to use up a huge zucchini that was about to go bad in my fridge and eat something with chocolate – it was like a dream come true. The only thing that I would change for next time – adding pecans or walnuts. I know that it would bring the calorie/fat count up but I think that it would be a nice touch.

  12. JulieVR
    October 8, 2008 at 9:15 pm

    Oh yes, you could totally add nuts! Just like any brownie recipe.

  13. Michelle
    July 28, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Hi Julie,
    Great blog! I’m just wondering how long these keep if you make them with canola oil. I was going to make on Wednesday to have for the weekend (friday / Saturday). would that work or should I freeze them until then?


  14. JulieVR
    July 28, 2009 at 12:48 pm

    I’d freeze the brownies midweek for the weekend – they’re moist and cakey, so freeze very well – much better than having them be a few days old, I think!

  15. Vivian
    September 24, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Here it is, a year later(2009)and this brownie recipe is just going to hit the spot! Glad I re-read the comments as I totally forgot about adding a kick of coffee. I’m caramelizing some onions just now to go with the no-knead pizza dough you posted today. You are a real inspiration for what to do for “victuals” each day. That’s why I always read you first.

  16. angela
    September 24, 2009 at 6:53 pm

    just make a double match of the brownies, and they were amazingly deliscous. good thing i’m sharing them tomorrow though :)

  17. Jacquie
    September 28, 2009 at 12:05 pm

    Hi Julie! I’ve just recently discovered your blog, but in this short time I’ve made the curried lentils with sweet potatoes and the spicy, sticky chichen. But it’s these brownies which have now earned you the title of goddess in my house!

  18. high altitude gardener
    September 14, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Re the Uphill Gardener dislike of instant coffee…I agree but if you can get a hold of instant espresso coffee…it does wonders for anything chocolate.

  19. high altitude gardener
    September 14, 2010 at 11:01 am

    my cooking group is doing a “zucchini” theme this month..I will do the brownies for sure but any good ideas for zucchini appies.

  20. Bistra
    January 14, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    nice about the spaghetty,
    I like to bring crispiness to them – sometimes I bake them in the oven this way they become little bit crispy and the sauce with them becomes bit more dense(dont know the right word), but your way might be better and easier

    Regards, Bistra

  21. Bro;wnieLee
    August 25, 2013 at 11:30 am

    Excellent recipe!

  22. Charlotte
    August 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    This recipe seemed amazing, so I had to try it straight away. I thought I followed all the steps, but for some reason my brownies didn’t rise to be as wonderfully fluffy as yours seem to be in the picture. Any quesses as to what went wrong?

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