Chef Boyardee

One morning I heard a story on NPR about this cookbook. Now I love a good cookbook, but this one really piqued my interest, because it was called “Delicious Memories: Recipes from the Chef Boyardee Kitchen.” Who didn’t eat more than their fair share of that stuff? I must have eaten my weight in the ravioli alone, when I was in college and first out on my own. (Surprised? Yeah, I ate really badly when I was younger.)

But this book isn’t a collection of processed pasta recipes. It turns out that the Boiardis were terrific cooks, and had their own restaurant and everything before they became the King of the Canned Pasta. The book is written by the grandniece of Hector Boiardi, who was one of three brothers that made their way in the restaurant biz. They were quite accomplished chefs and got into the canned sauce business because people kept asking to take the sauce with them.

Since my husband subsisted on this stuff when I first met him (although he’d add melted American cheese on top of it), I had to tell him about this story. He was intrigued enough to ask for it for father’s day and we’ve enjoyed it ever since.

So far, we’ve made the risotto (lots of work but delicious), the spinach frittata (solid, will make again), the broccoli pasta (scrumptious and shockingly easy, 5 ingredients including the salt for the boiling water.) Tonight, Keith wanted the Bucatini Amatriciana. A couple of problems: first, I couldn’t find bucatini, so I had to use spaghetti so of course I used whole wheat. Second, it’s flavored with bacon which Bella and I don’t eat. And third, I had some veggies in the fridge that really needed to go. So, we basically made a vegetable spaghetti sauce. Here’s what we did:

Roughly chop:

  • 1 large onion
  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 red pepper
  • clove of garlic

Warm up some olive oil (about a T) in a large pot until warm and add the veggies. I started with the onions and garlic, got them soft, then added the rest.

Let that cook for about 10-12 minutes, stirring. Then add:

  • 28 ounce can + 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes. (Actually, I did whole, which is what it called for but you just ended up pureeing them so next time, I’ll just do diced. Also, I had a tomato that needed to be used so I tossed that in as well.)
  • Some salt
  • Some red pepper flakes. It called for pepperoncino, but I couldn’t find it whole so I went with just regular old red pepper flakes. Believe it or not, no oregano, no basil.

Simmer that for about half an hour, stirring. Make your pasta, drain, add the sauce and sprinkle on some parmesan and asiago and SERVE. And, if your husband is not a vegetarian, you can make some bacon on the side and let him stir that in. Everyone is happy! So happy, we’ll probably eat it again tomorrow.


5 thoughts on “Chef Boyardee

  1. cuprado Post author

    Oh I know! It’s like that scene in Ratatouille where the chef has totally sold out to the frozen food market. The recipes in here are mostly fairly easy and tasty. WHO KNEW??

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