Thursday, May 13, 2010

House Standard: Ground Beef Spaghetti

Ground beef spaghetti -- a house favorite that's always the same and yet always a little different.
It always starts with olive oil, garlic and onions in a frying pan. Usually there are dried spices too -- oregano, crushed chile, cracked fennel seeds. Today I added in some chopped pancetta, because I could. I always let the meat brown in the oil and when inspired toss in an "extra" or two, for tonight it was sliced mushrooms and some bitter dandelion greens. I let the mushrooms cook down with the meat and added the greens just before I mixed the pasta into the skillet so they were still crisp. A couple TBs of tomato paste cooked into the meat gave a bit of sweetness and a bit of the depth of flavor I sometimes get (when I have it to add) by adding red wine to the meat as it cooks.
When the spaghetti was cooked and drained I added the mixture in the skillet to the pasta along with about a cup of the starchy pasta cooking water and a big handful of parmesan cheese. Since I had a nice tub of ricotta in the fridge I aded in a few TBs for a nice touch of creamy texture.
A basic recipe that never feels basic.

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