Recipe by evelyn/athens
Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients and instructions - it comes together really quickly and I'm a stickler for detail. This is really good and I do recommend you try spaghetti 'the Greek way'. I'm pretty sure you're going to like it.;-) If you want to make this a totally Greek dinner, then serve with a Greek salad, crusty bread, red wine, and fresh fruit for dessert.
Top Review by Lizzie-Babette
This tastes very much like my grandmother's spaghetti, so it was a very memorable meal for me. I've never liked any meat sauce but hers, and now I feel that I can recreate it myself (Grammie would be so proud!). I made this exactly as directed except for three things: had to use ground allspice (about 1/4 - 1/2 t or so), had to use ground cinnamon (also about 1/4 - 1/2 t or so), and used more cheese just because I love mizithra! The taste was really outstanding (reminded me a bit of the sauce Grammie used to make with chicken kapama). The recipe really does come together quickly; while the meat was browning, I measured out the dry ingredients in one ramekin, and put the wet ingredients (except for tomatoes and water) in another, so it was a snap to make, although it was torture to wait for the sauce to be ready - smelled too good! Per Evelyn's suggestion, we paired this with a simple salad, bread, and red wine. Wonderful and delicious!
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 large onion, minced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1⁄2 lbs lean ground beef
- 2 (1 lb) cans plum tomatoes, pureed
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon maggi seasoning sauce (a liquid soy-yeast extract blend lacking this, use regular dark soy sauce)
- 1 1⁄2 teaspoons salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 small dried red chilies (my kids won't let me add this, but it's good) (optional)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano, crumbled (Mediterranean)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
- 1⁄2 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
- 2 bay leaves
- 8 allspice berries
- 1 1⁄2 cinnamon sticks (each stick measuring about 3 inches in length, 2 sticks broken in half, don't use one of the halves)
- 1 1⁄2 lbs cooked spaghetti (or pasta of your choice)
- 1⁄3 lb butter, cold
- 1⁄2 cup grated mizithra cheese (or Parmesan, but myzithra is authentic)
- more grated cheese, for the table
Directions See How It's Made
- In a medium to large sized pot, add the olive oil, onion and garlic and cook, stirring often, over high heat until onion is translucent and whole house smells good, about 4 minutes. Add ground beef and smash down with the tip of your wooden spoon to break it up. Brown beef well.
- When you think it’s been browned long enough and it’s time to give it a stir to redistribute the meat for more browning – STOP – wait another minute and a half to two minutes, and then stir up the meat. Do this repeatedly until all the meat is good and brown. This is important for the end result. For a good meat sauce, you want your meat to have browned sufficiently, and most people don’t give it enough time. In all, this process should take 12-15 minutes.
- Add all the remaining ingredients, bring back to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 35 minutes, then cover pot and simmer a further 30 minutes. This is as long as I cook it for my family, the sauce is as thick as we like it. If you like your sauce thicker, cook it uncovered slightly longer before covering the pot (another 5-10 minutes?). If you like your sauce thinner, cover the pot after 25-30 minutes of simmering before continuing with the additional half hour.
- Fish out bay leaves, chilis (if using), allspice berries and cinnamon sticks.
- This recipe makes quite a lot of sauce, which is a good thing as you can freeze what's left to enjoy on another day, when there's little to no time to cook a homemade meal.
- To make authentic greek-style pasta: Cook pasta (I usually use spaghettini, but not exclusively) in the regular way until al dente. Drain.
- In the dry pot you cooked the pasta in, add the butter (BUTTER, not oil, not margarine); melt and brown the butter. This takes about 3-4 minutes at high heat. Turn off heat source and add spaghetti back to the pot. Toss to coat with browned butter.
- Put spaghetti in large platter, pour half of sauce over, sprinkle with about ½ cup myzithra cheese.
- Put the remaining sauce in a deep bowl and serve at the table for people to top off their pasta along with extra grated cheese.