Sunday, February 26, 2012

Simmered and Stirred.....with apologies to Mr. Bond

Sunday evening signals that the weekend is almost over. The only way to cheer yourself up is to cook something really special. It is important for me to make the evening meal on Sundays a little different and interesting. Helps tide over Monday morning blues.

This evening I chose to make the handmade Tunnisian Harrisa Fettucine pasta that sister had got me. Apart from being hand made I am not really sure how this pasta is different but what I do know is that it is head and shoulders above any other pasta that I have cooked/eaten. It is also less sticky and stays separate for much longer.

I particularly enjoyed making the meat sauce today. I let the sauce simmer on the flame for over an hour. Was exciting to watch the mince simmer, bubble up and acquire the right consistency. I also kept adding ingredients impromptu- vegetable stock from last nights stew, some red wine that has been sitting in the refrigerator, a piece of cheddar from my husband's snack platter. All of them adding color, taste and richness to the sauce. Unlike other times I used a masher( yes, the same one I use to make Pao bhaji). This gave my sauce a uniform and glossy texture. The kitchen smelt really nice as the mince was simmering. Son claims he could smell it from two flights down. Never mind the exaggeration it all worked well together. And finally plating it so that the pasta and meat sauce could create some magic on our sensorials.

Pasta with meat sauce

Serves :4, Cooking time: 1 hour

Fettucine Pasta: About 100 grams
Garlic: 4/5 pods chopped fine
Onions: 2/3 medium sized onions, chopped fine
Tomatoes: 3/4 medium sized tomatoes blanched and pureed
Tomato ketchup: 1 tbsp( primarily to add color)
Red wine( optional): 1/2 cup
Mutton mince: 500 grams
Vegetable stock: 2/3 cups( else use warm water)
Olive oil: 2/3 tbsps
Oregano seasoning: 1 tbsp
Green corriander: 1 tbsp, finely chopped for the garnish


  • Boil the pasta in plenty of water to which a little salt has been added(to ensure your pasta does not stick, add a tsp of olive oil into the water) for about 8/10 minutes. Drain the water, toss the pasta with 1 tbsp of olive oil and keep aside.
  • Heat some olive oil in a pan. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes. Next add the onions and fry them till they turn glassy. Add the mince, oregano seasoning, tomato puree, ketchup and saute for a few minutes.
  • Turn the stove to a low flame add the vegetable stock and red wine. Let the mince simmer for about an hour. Alternate between cooking it covered and open. Keep stirring and mashing the mince with a masher from time to time. Add more stock if needed. The meat sauce should have a runny consistency
  • Once the sauce is done add salt to taste.
  • Now to plate. Place the pasta on a plate, shape it like a bird's nest. Spoon about 2/3 tbsp of the meat sauce onto the center. Garnish with finely chopped coriander and serve piping hot. As the pasta would have grown cold it is a good idea to microwave the serving for about 60 seconds and then serve. Add the garnish after you have microwaved.
  • Go ahead slurp it up!
Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

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