Yesterday's planned dinner was a pork dish, simmered with apples and cranberries. It's a dish I'd made once before, had forgotten about and then this week was reminded of it, as I have plenty of cranberries floating around. Well, I decided to look at the recipe, and wouldn't you know, I thought it needed some work in order to repeat it, and that just made the dish not something I wanted to make. Instead I was drawn to a glowing report for a rather unusual dish that included beef, tomatoes, and cinnamon. The gentleman who highly recommended it has never steered me wrong in the past, and when he's gushing about how comforting a dish is, I know I need to try it.
The dish called to me from the computer screen. An old dish from 2002 and Bon Appetit magazine, I suspect that I even saw this recipe grace the pages of that magazine. (And it's also a reminder that I need to pick up the Thanksgiving issue of Bon Appetit!) Why I let it pass me by, I have no idea, and I'm oh-so thankful to Bob for bringing it to my attention because I loved it. Macaroni with Spiced Beef & Tomato Sauce is just plain delicious. What makes it unique is the spice blend of cinnamon, cloves, and cayenne. You would think it strange, but trust me, it is completely delightful and so warming and comforting! I changed the recipe only slightly. I used one large can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes, and then I eliminated the tomato sauce. I doubled the cinnamon and clove according to Bob's recommendation, and the result was heaven. I did add a pinch of salt as well, now that I think of it. The only dissenting vote at the table was Zander, but he's still very much leery of one-pot meals, which this was.
Macaroni with Spiced Beef and Tomato Sauce is quick, easy, and will be repeated here. I'm looking forward to leftovers for lunch, and I'm going to be adding it to the quick-and-easy files along with that Hamburger Buddy from a few weeks back. You could probably also add in more vegetables if you felt inclined, right off the bat I'm thinking some fennel would combine with the flavors in an incredible way. If you've ever had the Greek dish Pastitsio, and enjoy that, you'll love this one- similar flavors, but without the bechamel.
Macaroni with Spiced Beef & Tomato Sauce
from Bon Appetit magazine
Makes 4 servings.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound ground sirloin
2 large onions, halved, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/3 cup dry red wine
2 tomatoes, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
8 ounces large macaroni
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Heat oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Add meat and onions and sauté until brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add cinnamon, cayenne, and cloves; sauté 5 minutes. Add wine, tomatoes, and tomato sauce; simmer until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
(Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill sauce uncovered until cool, then cover and chill. Rewarm before continuing.)
Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain. Add to sauce and toss to coat. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer pasta to bowl. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese and serve.