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5 Easy Comfort Food Dinners


Colonists brought pasta to America, but it was Thomas Jefferson -- after serving as French ambassador -- who toted the first "maccaroni" machine back to the United States in 1789. Still, it wasn't until 1848 that America got its first industrial pasta factory, helping spread pasta to the masses, and not until after the subsequent Italian immigration wave of 1900 to 1914 that a special affinity for spaghetti developed in the U.S.

Like other comfort foods, spaghetti is easy to make. Most Americans simply boil spaghetti in water for eight or nine minutes, then top it with a warm, tomato-based sauce from a jar or can. Those who enjoy cooking may make their own sauce from scratch, adding meat, sausage and vegetables. Today, several types of commercially prepared spaghetti sauces are available, including garlic tomato, mushroom and four-cheese varieties. If you're not a tomato fan, white sauces like Alfredo or chicken garlic are also available. And the sauces can be used with any type of pasta -- rotini, cavatappi, rigatoni -- not just spaghetti.

Nevertheless, most Americans still reach for the spaghetti when they have a craving for pasta.