Friday, May 12, 2017


One-pot dishes are always a good choice for a mid-week meal. They are almost always quick and easy to make, and they are usually done in about 30 minutes. This is a very hearty meal, with lots of vegetables, flavourful spices, and of course, a great deal of freshly grated cheese.
I find that freshly grated Parmesan works best here, because it really easily melts right into the sauce itself, rather than clinging to the pasta in tiny clumps. That is fine, too, I just like the cheese completely melted into the sauce.
One of the recommendations I have is to check it as it cooks once you add the pasta, just to stir it occasionally, but also, to make sure there is enough liquid. This liquid to pasta ratio is what I find to be the best, but if you like your pasta well-cooked, add a bit more water, and cook it for a little longer.
One last thing I need to mention is that you can purée your vegetables before adding in the meat. I do it with an immersion blender, but you can blend it in a blender, too, works equally well. Blending the vegetables makes the sauce smoother, but that is just a personal preference.

400 grams ground beef, lean
1 large yellow onion, minced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 celery stalk, chopped finely
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
500 ml thick tomato passata
500 ml hot water
300 grams uncooked pasta
100 grams freshly grated Parmesan
50 grams sour cream
fresh parsley, to taste
freshly grated Parmesan, to taste

Take a large pot, ideally, a heavy-bottomed one, add in the olive oil, and heat it up on medium-high heat. Add in the prepared vegetable, and sauté it gently, for about 10 minutes, until it softens up. Add in the beef, and cook it until it is no longer pink, breaking it up as it cooks. Once the meat is browned, add in the tomato paste, and the spices, and cook for a few more minutes, until well combined. Pour in the tomato passata, and water, and mix thoroughly.
Tip in the pasta of your choice, cover the pot, and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the pasta is done. While it is cooking, check it occasionally, just to make sure there is enough liquid. If it appears to be dry, add some more water until it is done to your liking. Once it is cooked, remove it from the heat, add in the Parmesan, mix well, and let it stand for a few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, then serve with sour cream, parsley, and some more freshly grated Parmesan. Yields 4 generous servings.