You’re probably no stranger to the odd world of Internet-famous foods. But I’m obsessed with them. I love their weird, ephemeral nature, their maximalist unnecessariness.
Super-sized Moscow Mule, I’m looking at you. You’re made with an entire bottle of vodka, because why not? Mile-high milkshakes from Black Tap, people wait in line for you for some reason; Cronut®, you too (yep, I see that trademark sign, Dominique). As for you, raw cookie dough as ice cream? Well, let’s just forget you ever happened.
Very few of these viral food trends stick around for long (except for avocado toast, I’m pretty sure that’s never going to leave us), and far fewer can be recreated by an average home cook like myself. I would never dream of baking a naked layer cake à la Milk Bar or attempting to roll up a sushi-rrito in my teeny tiny New York City kitchen. As much as I love eating these eye-catching dishes, they’re confined to the world of restaurants, bakeries, and rooftop bars.
Or so I thought.
A few weeks ago, my editor and recipe-making wizard, Eric, casually asked me if I had ever heard of hot dog spaghetti. I couldn’t tell if he was making fun of me or being serious. Anyway, I hadn’t. A Google search piqued my interest further: Basically, you thread uncooked spaghetti through cut-up hot dogs, boil them up in one pot, and drown everything in butter (my favorite!) or tomato sauce (vegetables!). This culinary phenomenon had failed to cross my news feed, and I was furious that I hadn’t already known about it.
Threaded spaghetti hot dogs are simple (two ingredients!), brilliant (look at that technique!), and born to please the masses (meat in tube form, what’s not to love?). It was time to catch up with the rest of the world and try it for myself. And if the internet has taught me anything, it’s that the sky is the limit. And because I like to overdo everything, I thought: Why stop at weenies? I invited peas and cherry tomatoes to my spaghetti-threading party.
Unsurprisingly, the prep was not difficult. I chopped up each hot dog into four bites and, like a firefighter rushing to their fire truck, slid each piece down its respective spaghetti pole, making sure not to snap the pasta in half (which happened twice). The peas were even more tedious. (Just picture yourself poking not-quite-all-the-way-thawed peas down each individual spaghetti strand.) The cherry tomatoes, like pretty much every middle child, got the short end of the stick: By the time I got to them, I was over this threading business.
After snapping a pic of my spaghetti kebabs, I boiled everything together in salted water, and in the amount of time it takes to cook dried pasta (“10 to 11 minutes, al dente“), I had a bowl of steaming-hot threaded spaghetti waiting to be dressed. I tossed my gloriously Frankensteined creation in this life-changing two-ingredient tomato sauce (it had been sitting there for a few days and needed to go) and added freshly chopped basil, salt, and pepper into the mix. To top it all off, I pretended like I was both waiter and diner in a restaurant and never said “stop” as I grated over a mountain of Parmesan cheese.
I gazed upon my Instagram-plated threaded spaghetti hot dogs with a mix of pride and fear—it looked almost identical to the ones I had seen online, but would it live up to my unreasonably high expectations for ridiculous food? Given how little time or real effort I actually put into it (zero)?
And then I took a bite.
It was magic. The classic hot dog flavor we all know and love melded with the buttery noodles, fresh basil, and four-day-old tomato sauce in blissful harmony. And the peas! The peas turned out to be well worth the tedium—none had annoyingly sunk to the bottom of the bowl, and never would again, thanks to this method. The cherry tomatoes, which had been stripped of their skins in the cooking process, retained their sweet-tart essence and became one with the sauce.
This dish’s only flaw: I used way too many hot dog bites per bunch of spaghetti (as you can probably guess from my Instagram photo) and ended up eating four entire hot dogs in one sitting.
If you’d like to try this at home, you should probably do the exact opposite of everything I did: Take a cue from the video above and stick to one hot dog bite per bunch, two max. That one miscalculation aside, I was very pleased with myself, thank-you-very-much. I would 100 percent without hesitation make this dish again, next time for my friends who didn’t believe in me way back when (a week ago when I posted this cooking endeavor on my Stories). Their reactions ranged from “Omfg ERIN” and “What the hell is that” to “LOL.” Little did they know, in those dark days, that hot dog spaghetti would prove to be simultaneously quirky, whimsical, and utilitarian.
Whether or not my friends (or even you, reader) think threaded spaghetti hot dogs are an abomination, they’re not going anywhere anytime soon—at least not in my kitchen.
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