Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Macaroni and meat sauce

This is one of the iconic meals of my youth, something my mother made quite often. And I just loved it. It was probably the second favourite thing that she made, right after shepherd's pie. Unfortunately, in recent years she's mostly forgotten how to make this recipe -- the last couple of times she's made it it wasn't quite right, if you know what I mean. So I set about the hugely significant task of recreating the recipe from memory, from my taste impressions over the years. And you know what? After about 3 tries I think I've got it. I made this last night and it was a huge hit, with lots of enthusiasm for even better tasting leftovers tonight.
Macaroni and meat sauce
makes 6 - 8 main course servings

1 lb dried elbow macaroni
1.5 lbs lean ground beef
1 very large onion (I use the biggest Spanish onion I can find)
4-6 stalks celery
1 jar (3-4 cups) tomato pasta sauce
4-6 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp italian spice
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
olive oil
salt & pepper to taste

1. Saute the onions, garlic & celery in some olive oil until they start to get a bit soft, about 8 minutes or so. After a few minutes, add about 1/2 the italian spice and red pepper flakes. Set aside in a bowl.

2. Cook the pasta in salted, boiling water according to the directions on the box.

3. Brown the meat with some olive oil, add the rest of the italian spices and red pepper flakes. About 5-8 minutes.

4. When the meat is brown, add it the veggies and the tomato sauce. Make sure you don't add too much sauce, as the mixture needs to be quite thick and meaty. Let simmer for a few minutes while the pasta finishes cooking. Check the seasoning and add whatever seems necessary.

5. Drain the pasta. Combine the pasta and sauce in the biggest of the pots you used. Mix it all up very well. If you need to add a bit more sauce, this is the point to do it.

6. Serve with salad or chopped veggies and some nice bread.
The sauce I used this time was Ragu Old World Stlye Traditional Pasta Sauce and it worked out very well, but whatever you have will be fine, as long as it's a simple tomato based sauce. This dish needs to be very thick and the veggies a bit crunchy to give it's full impact.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this delicious recipe! The whole family, including my 18-month-old, loved it!