pappardelle with ground sirloin ragu, aka grown-up spaghetti

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So, yesterday was full of social commitments–a lovely opening at Robinson Home, Macon’s own fine kitchen and interior goods store owned by some of our best friends, Will and Carrie Robinson (you HAVE to check out their store–you’ll want to buy everything, and you should), then a lovely holiday cocktail hour at Ned and Priscilla Esser’s house.  After a supper of cocktails and appetizers, we called it and early night, and I promised to make supper on Thursday night.  My voice started waning last night, but this morning, I woke up to discover that I hardly had a voice at all!

After a day full of telling my students “Yes, I’m ok…yes, my voice sounds bad…no, you’re not getting out of taking your test…,” I was exhausted.  I would have loved to have attended Historic Macon‘s membership mixer or the Macon Music Ambassadors concert, but unfortunately, I began to feel just about as bad as I sounded.  I left school, went to the grocery store, and came home to change into my pajamas…all before 5 PM.

While at the grocery, I knew I had a package of pappardelle pasta from a previous jaunt to Trader Joe’s, and a warm bowl of pasta sounded like exactly what the nonexistent-doctor ordered.  If you can’t tell from the photo, pappardelle is a wide egg noodle that’s perfect for hearty sauces.  I picked up some lean ground sirloin, diced tomatoes, and mushrooms, then decided to figure it out when I got home.

I combined inspiration from several recipes I found online, and I’m pretty happy with how tonight’s dish turned out.  This doesn’t take very long to cook, but the sauce will taste like it’s been simmering on the stove for a few hours.  While the first name, pappardelle with ground sirloin ragu, sounds fancy-schmancy, I qualified it with a more simplistic name: grown-up spaghetti.  Pasta, meat, and tomatoes–that’s spaghetti, right?  This version has a more complex flavor than spaghetti, but it still hits the spot if you’re craving comfort food.  Try and let me know what you think!

Pappardelle with Ground Sirloin Ragu, aka Grown-Up Spaghetti

1 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1 tsp. dried mint

1 tsp. dried oregano

1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes

8 oz. ground sirloin

1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes

1 Tbsp. tomato jam or tomato paste

4 oz. sliced mushrooms (1 carton)

1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper, to taste

8 oz. pappardelle pasta

1/2 cup fresh parsley

1/4 cup grated parmesan

Put a large pan of water on to boil for the pasta, and warm the garlic and oil in a small, heavy-based pan that comes with a lid, stirring for a minute or so.

Sprinkle in the herbs and pepper flakes, stirring again before adding the meat. Cook for a couple of minutes, stirring, until it cooks through.

Add the tomatoes, tomato jam or paste, Worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, salt and pepper, then give a good stir and bring to a bubble. Cover with the lid and simmer for 20 minutes.

At the appropriate time, salt the boiling water and cook the pasta according to packet instructions (mine took 11 minutes).  Once cooked and drained, add the pasta to the meat sauce and, using tongs, dress the pasta with the sauce.  Turn the heat off of the eye on the stove.  Add the fresh parsley and parmesan, tossing with the tongs, then divide the pasta into 2 bowls for hungry people or 4 bowls for a pasta course.  Top with another dusting of parmesan and serve immediately.

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