This wonderfully creative idea for inserting dry spaghetti into the hot dog of your choice (tofu, turkey, beef, whatever) then boiling them together wound its way across the internet from the original Russian creators, who named them "Hot Dog Strikes Back," to BoingBoing, where the commentators renamed them "Squiddlies" to the Lunch in a Box Forum, where I was immediately transfixed. Of course, we have a Spongebob obsessed five year old, so at our house they became "Pasta Squidward."
These are absurdly easy to assemble, and The Kid absolutely adored making them. Half a pack of turkey dogs and a handful of spaghetti broken into half (so it would fit into the pot) were all we needed. The combination of spaghetti and meatlike sticks deserves to become an instant kid cuisine classic, like S'mores. They bring together two foods that already have strong kid appeal with the opportunity to play with your food. All they lack is a universal and instantly recognizable moniker.
After we finished making our voodoo dogs, I started the pasta water boiling and made my sauce. It was my usual tomato based pasta sauce, except I substituted a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes for the usual huge can of tomato puree, so that it would be less liquidy and more goulash like. I like my squash a little blackened, or at least well done, so my veggies started like this:
And ended up looking like this:
Once they landed on the (poorly lit) dinosaur plate, they hitched a ride with the pincushion pasta to my son's tummy with no objections from him. Yeah!
I am shamelessly sending this unsophisticated dish to Kitchenetta at Got No Milk, one of the best looking food allergy/restricted diet foodie blogs around, who is hosting this week's Presto Pasta Nights, the long running weekly pasta round up begun by the always lovely Ruth of Once Upon a Feast.