I know, I know. You’re sitting there, staring at this post and thinking this recipe is one of those “Oh let’s see how outlandish we can be and create an oddball recipe just to be different.”
Well, it is and it isn’t.
Blame it on Spencer. He’s Carly’s big brother.
Smudge has been relentlessly requesting Spaghetti Tacos ever since she saw the first episode of Nickelodeon’s iCarly. Which means its been, like, 2 years.
And surprisinglly, I think it’s pretty good too.
See Spenser makes it for Carly and her friends and hilarity ensues. He’s even served it on dates. Yeah, he’s a little eccentric.
The other day Smudge had a few of her friends over after one of those all-day playdates that turn into dinner. “How about spaghetti for dinner?” is what I asked. What I heard in return was a symphony of, “SPAGHETTI TACOS!!!!!!”
Seriously? Well, why not? If they can be like their beloved T.V. character, at least it will get them to eat.
I sill love my mom’s spaghetti recipe (or as my sister used to call it BA-sketti) but over the years I’ve adapted it thanks to hours of scoping out Italian cookbooks. Like Kelley’s recent post for Easy Marinara and Flavia’s Sugo di Pomodoro, I like putting a few veggies in my pasta sauce to balance out my addition of ground meat. It gives Smudge something else to focus on avoiding besides the tomato chunks.
And this time I kicked up the healthy points even more by sneaking in grated zucchini.
In my opinion, the beauty of a heavier pasta sauce like this one is that it tastes even better the next day which makes it perfect for a back-to-school Monday dinner. You can let it simmer and have regular spaghetti dinner on Sunday, and add a taco shell or two with the leftovers on Monday.
It’s all about easing into the week.
- 1 pound ground hamburger
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus about ⅛ cup reserved
- 3 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 ribs celery, chopped
- ¼ cup white wine
- ¼ cup low-fat milk
- 2 15-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
- 2 15-ounce cans tomato sauce
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup zucchini, grated
- ¼ cup fresh shredded parmesan or fresh mozzarella
- 1 pound spaghetti noodles
- 12 white corn taco shells
- In a dutch oven or a large heavy-bottom sauce pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add hamburger and garlic and cook for 5-8 minutes.
- Add onion, carrots and celery and cook for another 5 minutes or until onion is transparent.
- Add wine and cook for 4-5 minutes or until cooked down.
- Add milk and cook 4-5 minutes or until cooked down.
- Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, oregano, balsamic vinegar and bring to a low boil. Add grated zucchini. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- About 15 minutes before sauce is done, bring a large stock pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt (about ⅛ cup) to make water taste like the ocean and cook spaghetti noodles until al dente, about 8 -10 minutes. Add noodles to sauce and mix well. Remove from heat.
- Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place taco shells on a baking sheet and toast for 3-4 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.
- Fill taco shells with spaghetti noodles and sauce and garnish with cheese.