Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Spaghetti Westerns

Spaghetti Western, is a nickname for a broad sub-genre of Westerns that came out in the mid-60's, so named because they were produced by Italian studies, often with a Spanish partner. There was a cast of local actors and, sometimes a falling Hollywood star, sometimes a rising one, like Clint Eastwood, who starred in many of Sergio Leone's films. The films were primarily shot in the Andalusia region of Spain, and in particular the Tabernas Desert in Spains southern province, because it resembled the American Southwest.

Most of these films were not that good, one of the first exceptions though, being Michael Carreras' Spanish-produced Savage Guns (1961) starring Richard Basehart and Alex Nichol. Later there was the Man With No Name trilogy (or the Dollars Trilogy) directed by Sergio Leone, starring then-TV actor Clint Eastwood - A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966)

Though it wasn't a "spaghetti western" one of my favorite Eastwood films was the later Outlaw Josey Wales.

Josey Wales: You have any food here?

Lone Watie: All I have is a piece of hard rock candy.
But it's not for eatin'. It's just for lookin' through

Josey enjoyed a good spaghetti dinner in that movie. A meal I enjoy as well.

I've posted a couple of pasta recipes on here, made from scratch, but what about when you don't have a lot of time, or a lot of fresh ingredients and a couple hungry cowboys or cowgirls show up at the door.

Home on the Range Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs.

You start with a bottle of jarred pasta sauce. Sure, there are expensive ones, but I like the Classico with basil as it isn't too salty, doesn't have that "tons of white sugar" taste, and has big chunks of fresh tomato in it. I don't measure (I eyeball it) so here are my best approximations. Add two small pinches of crushed rosemary, about 1/2 heaping teaspoon garlic, a shake of white pepper, 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper, one half teaspoon of wild honey, 3/4 to 1 teaspoon Penzey's Italian Seasoning, and about 1/3 cup of beer as it cooks so it doesn't get too thick. Add in a couple heaping cups of frozen Italian Meatballs (I like Schwanz products) and simmmer uncovered for 30-40 minutes. If you want to go wild, add another pinch or two of basil or (circle the wagons!) fennel. Serve with pasta, grated Romano cheese, bread (to mop up the sauce) and salad.

There won't be much in the way of leftovers tonight, for as Josey Wales said.

"When I get to likin' someone, they ain't around long.
click to enlarge any photo


  1. Wow, we do think alike. I've been a fan of the Classico sauces for years because they aren't salty and they aren't loaded up with sugar like the "Americanized" sauces. I like the "Spicy Tomato & Basil" variety though.

  2. Pre-"Batman", Adam West did a couple of Spaghetti Westerns also.

    If you dig Richard Basehart, Fox has been dribbling out seasons of "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" on DVD over the past few years. Later seasons got silly, but the first year, the black-and-white shows, featured some pretty decent sci-fi IIRC.

  3. Nice, but I'll pass on the spaghetti for a while... :-) Three weeks in a row is quite enough for a while!

  4. I should add that the Classico "Spicy Tomato & Basil" sauce is much spicier than most people think of when considering Italian cuisine. Better warn your guests before they dig in. :-)

  5. YUM-YUM!
    My wife makes something very similar, but we use these great turkey meatballs from Costco. The first time I sampled them at the store I was hooked!

  6. Liked the old rawhide shows... the star was killed in the first big screen flick he made with Eastwood.

    Rawhide and Dusty were at the rodeo this past week doing their tricks.
    Rawhide, the horse, climbed down off a moving truck and trailer.... well trained horse. Now for a plate of Bluebird pasta n sauce...

    oohhh ya turned me belly on....

  7. "I notice when you get to dislikin' someone they ain't around for long neither."

  8. On your last Josie Wales quote I liked Lone Watie's reply. Something like "I notice people you don't like don't tend to stay around long either."

  9. Penzey's makes everything better.

  10. Ohhhh mercy. That does look good? Very tempting!


  11. Not a hard man to track. Leaves dead men wherever he goes.

    Nothing easier than spaghetti and meatballs. Make it 10 different ways and it's still good. I like to add cut up Italian hot sausage links along with the meatballs. I had a lot of Italian friends growing up in my hometown. When I had spaghetti at their homes you never left sauce on your plate; you mopped it up with Italian bread or mama's feelings would be hurt. You only made the mistake once and you always remember the words "Whatsa matter Bobby? You no lika my sauce?" Great memories.

  12. That recipe sounds great. I like my sauce a bit more thick though. If you throw it against the wall, should stick, not ooze. If it bounces off, a little too thick.

    I'm a lazy cook and easily pleased, and my sauce shows that. A can of tomato sauce, can of mushrooms (gotta have mushrooms!) and minced garlic, maybe two heaping tablespoons of that. Salt, pepper and orregeno to taste and mix the above with a pound of browned venison ground meat - sauce is ready.

    After I drain my pasta, I rinse once with really HOT water to remove extra starch, then drain. A tablespoon of olive oil, toss that around, and pasta is done. Combine the two, add some Parmason cheese on top and eat.

  13. tutti i suoi buoni

  14. Brigid, the Newman's Own Sockerooni sauce is quite good too.


  15. Eric and Leades beat me to one of the quotes but I still have...

    "You gonna pull those pistols or whistle Dixie?"

    And the just funny...

    "Good thing you stopped me. I might have killed her!"

    I've found that italian sausage gives instant "yum factor" to the long or short sauce receipe.

  16. You can't leave out "High Plains Drifter" or "Pale Rider" even though "Pale Rider" didn't qualify as a Spaghetti Western. They both featured Eastwood's man with no name character.

    Still, IMHO, "Outlaw Josey Wales" is the best closely followed by "The Good, The Bad & The Ugly."

  17. Yum!

    Outlaw Josie Wales is a favorite:
    "To hell with them fellas. Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms."


  18. A past favorite Italian restaurant featured spaghetti 'n meatballs as a special item---the meatball (singular!) was the size of a grapefruit. The dish was family-sized delivered in a tureen of sauce and meatballs (one per person) and a steamer of cooked spaghetti. From there you were on your own.

    The place if gone now---not due to lack of customers but a falling out of the owners. Too bad. Mrs Crucis and I went there often and ordered a single item off the menu and it was enough for both of us.

    I miss that place.

  19. I'm gonna' try that one for the SASS shoot this weekend.

    Buzzards gotta eat, same as worms

  20. gerald - I appreciate the offer of the photos but I don't give out my email address unless I know you or we have mutual friends. If you have an online album where you post pictures and wish to share a link without me posting it I would be happy to check them out.

  21. Good stuff here!

    All nighters at the drive in.
    Remember those.
    Sit in car swill a beverage and watch Clint flicks all night. Misquito coils on the dash board.

    Popcorn as needed.

    Fun times.

    Also anyone remember Bud Spencer and Terrance Hill in the "Trinity" films?
    Great fun.

  22. "...looky here Jeb. Looks like we caught us the Outlaw Josey Wales. Now you take that gun out reeeal slow like so's we can count the hairs on that there hand..."

    And then of course they die.

    My all time favorite western movie.


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