Saturday, 7 November 2015

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Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Adapted from Just One Cook Book
Serves 4

Ingredients:
1. 250g minced beef
2. 150g minced pork
3. 2 cloves garlic minced
4. 1 large onion diced
5. 1 carrot minced
6. 1 celery stalk minced
7. 2 cups white mushrooms sliced
8. 2 large tomatoes diced
9. 1 whole tomato can and their juice
10. 75g frozen sweet corn
11. 75g frozen green peas
12. 1 TBS canola cooking oil
13. 2 TBS olive oil
14. 1 TBS red wine
15. 2 TBS Japanese mirin
16. Sea salt & pepper to taste
17. Parsley finely chopped for garnish
18. Parmesan cheese grated
19. 4 Servings of spaghetti

Directions:
1. Marinade the minced beef and pork with salt and pepper (optional step), mix well and keep in the fridge until ready to cook.

2. Bring to boil a pot of water and cook spaghetti according to package instructions.

3. Heat pan with 1 TBS Canola cooking oil, fry garlic until golden.

4. Add onions and fry until golden.

5. Add carrots and celery and sauté until golden.

6. Add the meat and mix well.

7. Add red wine and turn up the heat. Mix well and let the wine evaporate for a few minutes.

8. Add Japanese mirin and turn down heat. Mix well and let the alcohol evaporates.

9. Add tomatoes and canned tomatoes and mix well.

10. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes to absorb the flavor.

11. Add mushrooms, stir and mix well.

12. Add 2 TBS olive oil, stir and mix well.

13. Add peas and corns, stir until cooked.

14. Add parsley and mix well.

15. Dish up on spaghetti and serve with Parmesan cheese.

Additional Information:
To integrate well into the Danish society, you have to love spaghetti with meat sauce. 

Mr. FECS and J love this dish. And the Danish kids LOVE it. The Danish parents serve it on almost all occasions - during birthday parties, during play dates, in many Danish kids' lunch box and even during Christmas as dish for the kids!

The problem is - I really HATE this dish. I really dread serving this dish on the table. And I don't enjoy making it. I rather go hungry than to have to eat Spaghetti with meat sauce!

So you can imagine my struggles of integrating into the Danish society (ya, shallow right, but trust me, if you live overseas, food will be a main source of misery and adaptation, especially if you are a Singaporean*), until I found this recipe :-) 

The Japanese' secret is to mix minced beef with pork, and not just minced beef alone. The next secret is to use real tomatoes - I used to find this dish boring, because we used store-bought bottled pasta sauce. The third secret is to add the Japanese mirin. It does wonder to the dish and adds a lot of taste.

I have adapted this recipe to include the vegetables - carrots, peas and corn. But if we are eating a pure meat version, we will make sure to have salad on the table to go along.

Talking about making western dishes better tasting to both the Asian and westerners' palette, the Japanese are a pro in this area. Because of their natural meticulous and perfectionist nature, they are about to improvise anything thing they do to perfection. 

Thank God for the Japanese, we finally resolved this family conflict :-)  Life in Denmark is even more fun now :-)

And both Mr. FECS and J think that this was one the best spaghetti with meat sauce they have ever tasted :-) 

* According to a New Yorker, "Culinarily, they (Singaporeans) are among the most homesick people I have ever met." http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2007/09/03/three-chopsticks?utm_content=buffer0b83b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

References:

Weigh out 250g minced beef.

Add 150g minced pork.

Sprinkle salt...

and pepper.

Mix well and set aside in fridge.

Peel 2 cloves of garlic.





Chop garlic lengthwise.

Chop garlic breadth-wise.

Dice 1 large onion.

Peel 1 large carrot (or 2 small ones).

Cut lengthwise.

Cut carrot into small pieces breadth-wise.

Slice 2 cups of white mushrooms thinly.

Slice into strips 1 stalk of celery lengthwise.

Chop breadth-wise into small pieces.

 
Chop parsley.

Cut 2 large tomatoes.

Here is a video demonstration:


Not it's ready to cook :-)

A habit I am trying to cultivate - Clean-up before cooking :-)

Bring to boil a pot with generous amount of water for cooking pasta.

Add 1 tsp. salt.

Add 1 TBS olive oil.

When the water boils, turn down to medium high heat, add pasta, cover and cook for 8 minutes.

Heat pan with 1 TBS canola cooking oil.

Saute garlic until golden.

Add onion and saute until golden.

Add carrots.

Add celery.

Saute until golden.

Add meat and mix well.

Add red wine, stir for 5 minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Add Japanese mirin and stir for a couple of minutes to evaporate the alcohol.

Add 2 large tomatoes.

Add 1 can of tomatoes.

Cover and simmer for 5 minutes for the flavor to be absorbed.

Add 2 cups of white mushrooms.

Add 2 TBS olive oil and mix well.

Add 75g frozen peas.

Add 75g frozen sweet corn and stir until warmed.

Add parsley and mix well.

Drain pasta into a big bowl.

Now it's done :-) Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

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