So, as you have recently learned I am currently browsing through two rice cooker cook books, because (a) I live in a dorm and (b) I don’t have easy access to a stove. I know I showed a photograph of the first one to everyone in a previous blog, it’s really a bit dense and to the point, dealing with exact times, measurements and rice cooker settings, but the second one I got was written by a guy who says he never really cooks. So I thought what the hell, I’ll try his recipes first. You have to start somewhere.
Living in a dorm means you can’t make everything from scratch, if I were at home, and wasn’t restricted to a rice cooker, I would have made my own meatballs and my own tomato sauce, but this guy’s recipe was too straightforward for anyone to want to break away from it.
Spaghetti and Meatballs, In a Rice Cooker, as written by Neil Bertrand
12 frozen cooked meatballs (he suggests Italian style flame broiled.. you can find them at Trader Joe’s as beef, turkey or veggie balls)
1 (16-oz.) jar spaghetti sauce
1 (7-oz.) box spaghetti, broken in thirds
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Salt, black & red pepper to taste
1 tsp. oregano
2 cups water
Add all ingredients to rice cooker; stir well to coat spaghetti, cover and press down COOK switch. Once meal is cooked, and the cook switch pops up to WARM mode, serve immediately.
Cooked for 28 minutes and made up to the 5-cup level.
Now, this sounded great, although I cut out several ingredients, I stopped after the olive oil, and just added water. The first time I made this, I was making it for myself, so I also cut back on the amount of things I used. I only used 4 meatballs, one handful of pasta, broken into thirds, 1/4 of a jar of tomato sauce, and 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, plus the water. I let it cook, all at once, and it didn’t come out at all. I mean some of it came out, but some of the pasta burned, some of the pasta wasn’t even close to being cooked, the meatballs were too hot, and the sauce was too watery, and I came to the conclusion that there has to be a better way to do this. It’s okay if you have to do it in two stages, right?
The second time I made this dish, I cooked it for myself and my friend Mary, who took the lovely photograph above. Again I only used a few of the ingredients, meatballs, sauce, pasta and olive oil, and I also added some frozen peas to the mix.
I started out by just boiling the pasta (2 handfuls) in water by itself. I broke it into thirds, and put it in with the water for about 15-20 minutes and it was done. Then I strained the pasta, and got rid of the water, put the meatballs (8) and about 1/2 jar of sauce with 1/3 cup of frozen peas and a dash of olive oil in the rice cooker to heat up. Since you’re working with frozen and shelf stable items, you don’t need the hustle and bustle of a million pots and pans and a stove, you can re-heat most frozen foods in a rice cooker, which is nice.
When the meatballs were heated through (this step took about 10 minutes) I just added them to my bowl of cooked pasta with the sauce, peas and meatballs and mixed it all together. Even though you have a couple more steps than just throwing everything in the rice cooker, the consistency and all around taste is much better!
Just try this if you have a rice cooker. It’s fun, simple and easy, and it tastes great.
Love and Happy Spatulas,
PS! Don’t forget the cheese! Yum.