Binging with Babish: Spaghetti Tacos from iCarly
All you need to make spaghetti tacos are: some taco shells, some spaghetti noodles, our secret sauce, and meatballs. Where are the meatballs? Right about here, being dissolved by my stomach acid! Hey, what’s up, guys? Welcome back to binging with babish where this week, we’re putting this spaghetti into a taco as per your numerous and repeated requests. First up we’re just gonna make a simple tomato sauce and that starts with fresh basil, fresh garlic, red pepper flake, dried oregano, half a small onion, a can of San Marzano tomatoes and some tomato paste. Minimal prep here, we just gotta mince the basil, chop the garlic, which the easiest way to do that is to crush the clove using the side of the knife and roughly chop. Sorry, I know we’ve done all this stuff like a million times, but it’s nice to have a refresher every once in a while. Then we are finally mincing the onion and heading over to the stovetop. Were in a deep saute pan, we’re heating about two tablespoons of olive oil over a medium-high heat, until shimmering. Adding the onions sautéing for three to five minutes until soft and translucent, and then adding our sauce enhancers: 1 teaspoon red pepper flake; 1 teaspoon of oregano; our four cloves of chopped garlic; and a solid four tablespoons of tomato paste. This is gonna help give the sauce a little bit more of a slow cooked taste even though only gonna cook it for about an hour. Go ahead and saute that for about a minute until the garlic is nice and fragrant and then it’s time to add our San Marzano tomatoes. But first I want to give them a little chop in a food processor this way we’re gonna get a little bit less of a chunky sauce. After three to five long pulses in the food processor, into the pan they go. Give it a good mix to make sure that everybody’s playing nice, add our chopped basil. You could also add the basil right at the end if you want the flavor to be a little bit more pronounced, but I’m just gonna mix mine in now. Reduce the heat to medium-low, partially cover and bring to a rolling simmer. Then reduce the heat to low, give this guy a stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure that nobody’s burning or scorching, and then it’s time to bravely march into meatball territory. I’m just gonna make some super basic meatballs here: a pound of ground beef and eggs, Panko breadcrumbs, a shake of garlic powder, a little splash of milk, and a nice little shake of oregano. Because I have a radical idea for how to cook these meatballs. Mainly because I want to make them very very small so they fit in my taco shell. So I’m going to gingerly form them into 1-inch balls, and then I’m gonna try breading half of them because you might already know where my head’s at. I’m gonna deep-fry these guys, because I don’t think that they’re gonna be very conducive to the usual baking or pan frying. So I’m gonna bring a quart of vegetable oil up to about 350° degrees Fahrenheit (180° C), and I’m going to start with the unready balls just to see what happens. These guys are tiny so they’re gonna be done cooking in about three to five minutes. Just pull them out and let them drain on a wire rack once they’re nice and crispy and brown, and then let’s try out our breaded meatballs. These have just been rolled in Panko breadcrumbs, no egg, no flour, and same deal after three to five minutes pull them out once they’re nice and golden brown and crisp. Now, I don’t know about you. but if you ask me, those are some handsome little meatballs, first ever we tried the naked ones and these are okay. They’re not bad, but deep fryed beef doesn’t taste that great. But the breaded ones now, these are one of my new favorite things. First, you can probably picture how nice they would look on top of a nest of pasta, but they would also make an excellent appetizer with different sauces. And speaking of sauce, our sauce has been simmering for about an hour and now, it’s time to sauce up our pasta. Into a large saute pan it goes, along with about a half cup of pasta water and our slightly undercooked pasta, because remember we’re finishing cooking it in the sauce. We’re also going to add two tablespoons of butter, a generous pinch of kosher salt, and an enthusiastic drizzle of olive oil. And then, if you’re able, we want to toss this thing. This is going to help them emulsify the fat and the sauce, but if you’re not comfortable with tossing, just give it a vigorous stir in the pasta pot and the end product should be kind of orange, like this. That’s because of all the fat that we added and I promise you that a bowl of this is going to kick the absolute ass Of any red sauce and pasta you’ve ever had before. But now we’re gonna go ahead and decimate it by putting it into a stale taco shell, topping it with a couple of meatballs. Because Sam wasn’t around to eat mine. Invite your friend Ari over for a little taco holding assistance, because I want to top this guy with a little bit of freshly grated Parmesan, and because he did such a great job at the taco holding, I’m gonna go ahead and let Ari do the taste test on this one! And unsurprisingly he actually liked it a lot, which makes sense. It’s carbs on top of carbs. It’s just not acceptable in polite society. Why don’t we take a crack at making one that at least makes a little bit more sense flavor-wise? I’m gonna start by grating a few ounces of Parmesan cheese and introducing them to a preheated nonstick skillet. I’m just gonna pile maybe like, I don’t know, what is that like two ounces, into the center of the pan and let them sit undisturbed for like two to three minutes. Until the edges start turning golden brown, then I’m gonna give it a quick flip. Let it cook for another minute just to solidify the cheese on the inside and then I’m going to drape it over this contraption. Basically, just a small rolling pin or wooden dowel, that once the cheese is cooled will form it into a taco like shape. And I think a parmesan crisp is gonna work a whole lot better with pasta and red sauce, than a corn tortilla, and I’m sure you’ll agree. So again a hefty serving of pasta, and this time I’m going to go with part deep fried meatballs, a little grating of Parmesan cheese. Which I don’t need Ari’s help because my boys know how to stand on their own. And as I’m sure you might have guessed this Is really, really awesome. Obviously the flavors all work together very well, but also the parmesan crisp is less fragile and holds together during consumption, better than the corn tortilla. Never thought I’d say this but I wholeheartedly endorse these spaghetti tacos.