3 meats in Italy

Last Thursday Brence and I decided to have spaghetti for dinner. We were going away for the weekend and wanted some leftovers to take with us to eat at the campsite in Kaikoura where we were going to be staying, and spaghetti seemed to fit the bill.

Because we eat spaghetti fairly regularly, it actually only dawned on me late Thursday afternoon that spaghetti could warrant an Operation Dumpling map pin! I decided that it would have to be a pretty bang-up effort to deserve a pin - not just the usual sauce-out-of-a-jar affair - and so I made a beeline for the supermarket to get authentic Italian supplies.

I emerged from the supermarket feeling totally triumphant. Ingredients purchased for the Italy-pin-winning dinner included:

a bottle of imported Italian red wine

a loaf of ciabatta bread

italian pepperoni

minced beef


a jar of imported Italian tomato puree

red and green capsicum (bell peppers)

courgette (zucchini)




fresh tomatoes

and generic mixed "Italian herbs"

ingredients at the ready... and as Italian as 2 hours' notice would allow!

... so you see I really was trying to go for as much Italian-ness as possible, while still retaining the 'quick and easy-ness' of making a spaghetti dinner. Maybe next time we'll bake our own ciabatta. And yes, that's a bag of penne pasta not spaghetti, so technically this is penne. But really when you say "spaghetti" you're more often referring to the tomato-y sauce, not the type of pasta (my foodie friend Colin is going to KILL me for saying that!)

So. I got to Brence's place before he got home from work and started cooking. Over the past few months we have developed our own special recipe for spaghetti sauce, which evolved partially from Sharon's previous tendency to put pepperoni in her sauce coupled with Brence's universal theory of Bacon Improves Everything.

So, without further ado, allow me to present the recipe for Sharon and Brence's Patented 3-Meat Spaghetti.

1. sautee chopped onions, add generous amounts of streaky bacon cut into small pieces and cook

One, one meat in the spaghetti!

2. Chop up pepperoni into small chunks and add to the mix, cook for a few minutes

Two, two meats in the spaghetti!

3. Add a ridiculous amount of minced beef and cook until browned

Three, three meats in the spaghetti - aah aah aaaahhhhhh!!! (thunder and lightning...)

4. Add chopped veggies (courgette, mushrooms, capsicum and tomaotes), capers, olives if you like that kind of thing, as well as a butt-load of fresh herbs, ripped up all rough and Jamie Oliver-styles.. (Brence and I are fans of Jamie, for popularising the 'just chuck it in the pan' method of cooking)

A feast fit for Jamie's table...

5. After the veggies have cooked for a bit, add a heap of sauce, either store-bought-from-a-jar or made up of tinned chopped tomatoes and some tomato paste to thicken it up. Let simmer for yonks. Add salt, pepper and Italian herbs to taste.

Oh yeah, simmer baby!

While the sauce simmered and the pasta was boiled, it was time to have some Italian inspired pre-dinner snackage.

Italian red wine, ciabatta bread, Italian olive oil & Italian balsamic vinegar dip, and cheese.

The only non-Italian thing involved was the cheese, which was a really lovely camembert. I looked high and low in the supermarket for an Italian cheese suitable to have with bread (e.g. not parmesan), but alas the only types of cheese I could find were English, French and Dutch. So I make my apologies for having a small part of Italian night come from France, but there you go.

Buon appetito!

Dinner is served, and we take up our positions to "ciao down" and watch some classic Three's Company episodes

Hey-a, that's-a some good pasta!

Another pin in the map!

1 comments Posted by Sharon on Tuesday, April 08, 2008