Armenian Spaghetti


Makes 6 servings (serving a crowd?)

Armenian Spaghetti picture
  • 1 large onion, chopped somewhat coursely
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon mild oil (corn oil, rapeseed, sunflower, grapeseed; it’s only to raise the smokepoint of the butter)
  • 1 large stick cinnamon or two small
  • 1 quart of canned tomatoes (see note)
  • 1 lb box dried spaghetti (number 8 or thicker; spaghettini is too thin)
  • 1 - 1¼ lb block (i.e. not sliced) of American cheese

Special equipment

a preheated serving platter


Sauté the onions in the oils over medium heat until translucent, about 12 minutes. Add cinnamon stick and tomatoes, and simmer on medium low for 45 minutes to an hour.

Grate the cheese; put aside.

Bring 4 quarts of very lightly salted water to boil. Add spaghetti noodles and boil 2 or 3 minutes past the recommended time for al dente. Yes, your noodles should be soft. Drain.

When the spaghetti’s done, you can start layering: a very light coating of tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan to prevent sticking, then about a third of your pasta, then a third of your cheese, then a third of your sauce, then pasta, cheese, and sauce. Continue until you run out of ingredients.

Don’t try to serve this with a pasta ladle to keep the noodles intact. Go ahead and slice each portion with your serving spoon.


If you don’t have your own canned tomatoes from last season, you’ll want one 28oz can and about half of a 15oz can. Experience demonstrates that a mix of commercial whole and crushed or chunky crushed tomatoes works best, say 28oz of crushed and 8oz of whole, will give your sauce the proper heft. Don’t worry if your sauce is not thick; some prefer their Armenian spaghetti juicy


If you’re transporting this to an event, this will fill a 13x9 roasting pan.

Not that this needs any accompaniment other than a green salad, but sometimes brisling sardines were served on the side.