Thursday, April 21, 2011

Middle Eastern Spaghetti

Sorry for the lack of posting lately. The past week has been full of happy hours, hamburgers, secondhand cigarette smoke, mussels, laughing, 25 cent margaritas (mistake), sunshine and beautiful friends. All of this has left little time for cooking. Now that my arteries are clogged and my lungs are ashen, I thought it time to make some comfort food. And spaghetti has been on my mind all week.

After I saw this recipe on Food & Wine's twitter feed I was immediately angry with my mother for not having thought of this herself, and making it part of my childhood culinary rotation. It combines two things I've grown up eating: middle eastern spicy foods and spaghetti (or macaroni as my Teta calls it). It's one of those "Ugh why am I 30 and just NOW discovering this dish" dish.

Adapted from Food & Wine
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic
1 15 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, with sauce
1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce (I used about half, so 4 oz.)
1 tomato chopped in chunks
1 lb. ground lamb
1 tablespoon cumin (I was rather generous with this)
1 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3/4 lb. spaghetti
1/2 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped (do not omit, it's the best part)
olive oil

In a pot or large skillet, heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Add chopped onions and stir for 3-5 minutes until translucent. Add garlic and lamb and break up the lamb and stir until it's no longer pink. Then add tomatoes, tomato sauce and spices and let simmer for 20 minutes on low heat. 

Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package. Here is a little secret I picked up from I don't remember where (TV probably): once pasta is finished, reserve about 1/3-1/2 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta, return to pot with sauce. Add chopped parsley and mint and stir. Add some of the pasta water back in slowly as noodles absorb sauce.

I served this with an arugula and spinach salad with an olive oil, lemon and garlic dressing, tomatoes, palm hearts and carrots.

1 comment:

Mater said...

Sounds similar to your Tata's spaghetti except she used about 1/2teaspoon of allspice and cinnamon instead of cumin. Try adding a bay leaf and a little oregano. The mint is a twist I have never heard or tried yet but it sounds yummy! Looking forward to giving this a whirl! Have a blessed Holy Week! Thanks for sharing!