Spaghetti Sacrilege

OK, so today I succumbed to the “I saw it on YouTube” thing, and I rolled with it. The prep was a no boil spaghetti. I was highly skeptical.

This thing–dry pasta, simmered in a mongrel sauce, couldn’t be great, I thought. The gross, sheer simplicity of it screamed otherwise. Let me lead you to follow my preconceptions…

A pound of mixed hamburger and sausage of choice is browned with a large diced onion. Dump in a quart jar of your favorite tomato-based sauce. Dump in a half jar of water. Add a pint or half of jarred Alfredo (excommunication tomotrow). Dump in a full pound of dry pasta. Now dump in some cubed fresh Mozz. Bring to a covered simmer for 30 minutes.

We added a few things out of doubt that something so… simple would pass. Herbs, mushroom powder, pepper flakes, this was what we needed to do. But there really was no special need for riffs. We used bucatini.

Anyway, this ended up being some of the best pasta I can remember.

Who woulda thunk it?


What was the YouTube?

I found a “One Pot Alfredo” on Buzzfeed in the last year or so that turned out to not suck.

I didn’t view it. I’ll ask Wahine.

Nice! I recall having had good luck with something like this one.

I think there was a no boil lasagna that worked too!


Lol . I ve done this tastes like bark . Just keep with the real boiling instructions and pasta . Quit fooling around.

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Actually it works remarkably well, just have to increase the liquid to fully hydrate the pasta.

The sauce is a bit starchier for obvious reasons, but in most cases that’s not an issue.

There’s also a technique where the pasta is soaked for a while to fully hydrate it first, and then mixed with the sauce and remaining ingredients and cooked to finish. Great outcome, and saves the fuss, energy, and water of boiling first.

Earlier discussion here:


Bark?! Perhaps we used different recipes, or pasta or something!

IIRC, the ziti was soaked and the lasagna used additional liquid. It could have been lasagna noodles marketed as “no boil”. Now that I think about it, I think there may have been a no boil mac and cheese too! I remember it on a thread about mac and cheese on Chowhound. Maybe this one;

About that thread I wrote I came up with " a hybrid.My Aunt Helen meets Cooks Illustrated meets Alton Brown meets Patti LaBelle meets John Thorne. And uncooked elbows, stirred intermittently… "

Probably paywalled, but you can probably find it searching Julia Moskin.

I don’t eat much pasta anymore ( nor bark for that matter), but I recall being very pleasantly surprised! In addition to using fewer pots, and the lasagna noodles being easier to handle, it also used less water, which I like


You ate a pound of hamburger & a pound of spaghetti between two people?

That might be the most impressive thing about your post! Respect.


Interesting! I’m wondering aloud if the different shapes require different presoak times.

Yes, one of the earlier links I posted discusses that iirc

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We still have leftovers.


I did this yesterday with some Barilla “ready pasta” rotini. Not exactly the same, because i did it with jarred clams and their broth, blus the usual for white sauce, but it came out wonderfully. I didn’t add the actual clams until the end, because I didn’t want pasta with pencil erasers.

Granted that this is a lot more nuanced than what you posted but cooking Pasta directly in the Sauce has been around for a while (60’s±) even in Italy Spaghetti all’Assassina
And in Spain Fideuà Paella with Pasta instead of Rice


Yes, I know the method’s nothing new. But I was not expecting it to be this good, in addition to it being an amazingly easy dump dish. You clean one pot, s’all.

What’s been popularized recently is simmer/boiling the pasta in water separately, but in a shallow pan. That works, but it’s still the conventional two-step method–you don’t have to measure water, but you do have to strain and stop the cook far enough in advance that it will ultimately finish to liking after step two.

This method requires adding the right volume of water at the start, but as soon as the pasta is the right texture, you’re DONE.


This is the bizarro world version of instant ramen Cup Noodles


Some years ago, one of the big spaghetti sauce manufacturers introduced a “dry pasta ready” jarred sauce. It was shortlived, consumers having realized they were paying the same price for watered-down sauce as for full strength.

I often dilute sauce a bit and cook the pasta in it, if only cooking one or two portions. Also use the steeping or presoak methods for a full pound of dry pasta. Anything BUT the wasteful, time-consuming vat of boiling water. A lot of what is touted as tradition is nothing more than ignorance.

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This is pure gold- thanks for posting it! I’m having to report a hacked debit card today to folks that I can’t understand very well, so I needed the laugh.


Cooking pasta by the low-water method as described here has been my go-to for the past several years. I find it quick and easy, and the options for concocting a fast sauce in the pan are limited only by whatever ingredients I have on hand.

Though it’s true that in addition to having to wash a sauté pan, there’s a colander to wash after straining the pasta.


I’m kind of surprised you tried it. I’d look down my nose at that recipe and think: “Meh, maybe not.” Cool it turned out though.

Funny how orthodoxy fluxes— cooking pasta in tomato sauce pre-dates the unification of Italy

In Guiliano bugiali’s classical techniques of Italian cooking, he says that the earliest wedding of tomatoes and pasta he’s encountered is in an 1841 cookbook. The technique for “Macccheroni alla napoletana”? Bake dry pasta in between layers of tomatoes.

I tried his recipe 20 years ago and found the results gummy— in retrospect, I probably overcooked it relative to modern tastes and/or was using cheap pasta. He also commented on the gummy consistency and said he found a modern adaptation in small villages near Naples—- they oiled up dry pasta before stuffing it into whole tomatoes that get baked.

[Ed. by 1891, a similarly named dish, #86 here in Artusi’s book cooks the pasta and sauce separately)

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