“The beef and pork are so tender and flavorful…frying and stewing them together makes the different flavors of both meats mingle together to create a taste that neither could produce alone. And the stewed vegetables of another world used as the sauce’s base–they were simmered and crushed into a liquid with a sweet sourness and lots of flavor” (“Spaghetti with Meat Sauce”).
This season’s culinary delight is Isekai Shokudo, otherwise known as Restaurant to Another World. In the first part of episode three, Western Restaurant Nekoya’s “Master” serves up spaghetti with meat sauce for Thomas Alfade, a former proprietor of Alfade Company, and his grandson, Sirius. Thomas’ love for Nekoya’s spaghetti spurred him to popularize wheat noodles and tomato sauce in his own world so that he could eat the dish whenever he liked. Sirius is surprised to hear this truth, as well as learn of the trade of ingredients between Nekoya and his own world that allows both sides to collaborate and grow.
I, too, have a soft spot for spaghetti, and can recall a handful of different variations served to me growing up. My mother never seemed to follow a recipe, choosing her ingredients on whim and randomly hitting us with spice. Some of my favorite variations include sweet Italian sausage, hot dogs filipino-style, and roasted garlic sauce. She made it so much that I actually got sick of spaghetti. I never ordered it at restaurants. I never cooked it once I moved out on my own. It wasn’t until I met my husband, who loves traditional red sauce spaghetti, that I started making it on my own again.
For this recipe, I chose to follow as best I could the ingredients described by Sirius. Feel free to follow it to the letter, or throw in some twists of your own. I find spaghetti sauce to be very forgiving to experimentation. It also freezes well for later consumption.
Spaghetti with Pine Nuts and Meat Sauce
- ½ pound ground beef
- ½ pound ground pork
- 1 package spaghetti noodles
- 1 can tomato sauce
- 1 can diced tomatoes, drained
Optional: I buy my tomatoes in bulk at Costco, but suggest you try using San Marzano tomatoes.
- 1 medium onion
- 8 ounces Cremini mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts
- 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
- 5 Tablespoons unsalted butter
- Olive oil
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
- Favorite hot sauce, to taste
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
- Chef’s knife
- Cutting board
- Medium pot
- Large, high-sided non-stick pan
- Food processor, or blender
- Measuring cup
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to boil.
- Thinly slice onions.
- Thinly slice Cremini mushrooms.
- Peel and mince garlic cloves.
- Butter tip: if not room temperature/softened, chopping up butter when frozen helps disperse better in a hot pan
- Grate Parmesan if not pre-grated.
- Optional: toast pine nuts in a pan over medium-low heat until slightly golden, about 3 minutes.
Cook Spaghetti Noodles
- Cook spaghetti noodles as instructed on box in medium pot once boiling.
- Preserving a cup of pasta water, thoroughly drain noodles.
Make Meat Sauce
- While the noodles are cooking, heat a large pan on medium high heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
- Break up pork and beef with your hands into pan and season with salt and pepper. Cook until done, about 5-6 minutes. Salt and pepper again, to taste.
- Set cooked meat aside and drain pan, leaving any fond.
- Melt butter in pan.
- Saute onions and crushed garlic in the same pan with butter and fond, seasoning with salt and pepper, until soft and translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add sliced mushrooms and cook until softened, 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Turn pan off.
- Transfer cooked vegetables to food processor and gradually pulse into a sauce.
- Slowly pour tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and 1 teaspoon of salt into processor with onions until completely blended.
- Blend in half the pine nuts until smooth.
- Return cooked meat and tomato sauce to pan, and mix in the Italian seasoning.
- Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until flavors combine.
Plate and Serve
- Add noodles to sauce pan and thoroughly mix, or
- Divide plain noodles between plates and desired amount of meat sauce on top.
Garnish with remaining pine nuts.
- Top with Parmesan and/or hot sauce, to taste.
“Spaghetti with Meat Sauce.” Restaurant to Another World. Crunchyroll. 17 Jul 2017.