Monday, January 31, 2011

Maureen's Aussie Spaghetti Noodles

An Australian family tradition going back a couple generations, these Spaghetti Noodles are just bursting with chunky tomatoes and fresh herbs. Use medium shell pasta so the made-from-scratch sauce gets into those pasta pockets. This meal feeds a large family, or provides leftovers for a couple days. The sauce can be used in a variety of pasta dishes - manicotti, lasagna, and others.

Thanks to my mother-in-law, Maureen, for this delicious recipe. Hope she doesn't mind I added mushrooms to it!

Maureen's Aussie Spaghetti Noodles
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 pound mushrooms
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
1 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
2 bay leaves broken into halves
1 teaspoon sugar
6 ounce can (approx) tomato paste
2 cans of diced Italian tomatoes
1 cup stock, approximately
½ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
1 pound pack pasta shapes (medium shells or spirals)
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese


1. Using a skillet (that has a lid), heat olive oil then gently sauté chopped onions until they are transparent, and mushrooms until they are slightly soft. Season onion and mushrooms with a dash of salt and pepper.
2. Add garlic then cook together for 1-2 minutes. Pour onion and mushroom mix into bowl.
3. Raise heat, then add ground beef to skillet, using a fork to press and separate it while it is browning. Season beef with a dash of salt, pepper, and a shake of the onion and garlic powder. 
4. Add salt, pepper, sugar, basil, oregano and bay leaves and mix well.
5. Stir in tomato paste and cook for 1-2 minutes while stirring.
6. Pour in cans of tomatoes, including all the juice, and stir well.
7. Add stock and keep stirring until mixture is simmering.
8. Reduce heat, cover with lid and simmer on stove-top for approx 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When sauce is cooked, remove bay leaves and add finely chopped parsley and stir through mixture. 
9. While sauce is simmering, boil pasta until ‘al dente’.  Drain pasta and return it to the large saucepan.
Combine the pasta and sauce, and add in the grated cheeses, saving about 1 cup for the top.
10. Pour mixture into an ovenproof dish and cover with remaining grated cheeses.
11. Grill under broiler until cheese is slightly browned.

Serve and enjoy!

(If you are short on time, just add the cheese to the pasta and serve...skip the broiler step).

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