“Yechhh!” my sister and her best bud since high school both said, followed by “you EAT that stuff?”
Yes, yes I do, on occasion, and that discussion put me in the mind to make some, and soon. But not just plain mac and cheese, no sirreee! I had a plan, a plan calling for the friendly blue box, and…
Well, OK, and some tomato soup ground beef, a bit of onion, and some freshly ground Tellicherry pepper, but, yeh, I was contemplating Sriracha Zanzetti!
As I think I’ve covered in past posts, Zanzetti is my Aunt Buzz’s take on Johnny Mazetti Spaghetti, a beef and pasta dish popular among the expats in the Panama Canal Zone back in the day, tho’ it was first made at a restaurant in Ohio.
Buzz’s version is simpler, and mostly prepackaged; a box of Kraft dinner, a can of tomato soup, and a pound of ground beef. Totally ignoring my beloved aunt’s admonishment to “not gorp things up!” I’ve added a few things that, while gorp they may be, are really pretty darned tasty.
Add the ground beef and onion to a hot Dutch oven over medium high heat and cook, breaking up the beef, until the beed is cooked through and the onion tender. Transfer to a colander to drain, then allow the pan to cool just a bit (to prevent warping) and fill with water.
Add the bit of salt to water when it comes to a boil, then the macaroni.
Cook, stirring a bit to keep the pasta from clumping, for 7-1/2 to 8 minutes, then drain.
Return the macaroni to the pot, along with the butter, cheese packet, and milk. Cover and allow the butter to melt, then stir to mix and add the tomato soup and as much or as little Sriracha as you like (I like rather a lot – and two tablespoons is nice, with a bunch of flavor and really not too, too much heat).
Stir again, heat, if needed, over low to warm through, then season well with freshly ground black pepper and serve.
Mebbe with a salad and additional cheese.