Stringy Pasta Phobia?

I see a bit of an unplanned pattern happening for my favourite food five-post series – Poached Eggs, Potatoes, Pasta…what’s next?! It is totally unintentional. I absolutely, whole heartedly, love pasta.  In particular, the tomato kind.  It will always have a place in my kitchen.  Even when I was a little girl, it was high on my list of yummy din dins. It is so filling and versatile and makes me feel like I have had a good dose of real, hearty food.  It is easy to cook, it is cheap, most people like it, you can add so many things to it,  you make a big batch of it for lunches and other lazy dinners, and everyone usually has some pasta hanging out in their pantry – along with some sauce. Surely?

When my husband and I started dating 12 years ago, he came over for his first ever meal at my parents place. In true Burchill style we had pasta for dinner. I just assumed that my new, hot boyfriend would LOVE pasta just like me….I mean who doesn’t right?  Not until much later, my now-husband tells me that he will never forget that first meal with my folks.  Sitting there at the dinner table, with a meal that he knew he couldn’t wrangle with the common fork/spoon technique most of us are talented with. He never really ate that much pasta growing up, and therefore sat at the table and watched us eat, while trying his best to copy without it going everywhere.

Early days in our relationship

Nowadays when I make pasta, I usually forgo the messiest types (string spaghetti) for my hubby’s comfort, and head more towards the penne, shells or spirals.  Tastes all the same to me, so who cares. Keeps everyone feeling coordinated at the dinner table.  I have had to make the switch from normal pasta to Gluten Free pasta after I discovered how sick gluten can make me.  We both actually prefer the taste of the GF stuff. I came across this recipe some time last year, tore it our of the mag and pasted it into my recipe scrapbook.  I cooked it for the first time tonight and it was perfecto!  Approvals all round.  It was that easy that you only dirty one saucepan and a stirrer as you cook the entire thing in one pot.  This gave me time to sip a glass of red and rock out to some Roxette tunes playing in the background.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 500g beef mince (I like to use lamb mince)
  • 400g pasta sauce
  • 1/2 cup chopped mushrooms (I use over 1 cup of mushies cause we love them!)
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1/2 cup  water (I used about 1 cup all up as I put in more pasta)
  • 1 1/2 cup small pasta (I like using the Gluten Free Penne pasta)
  • chopped parsley (from our garden!)
  • grated parmesan to serve (I just used light Tasty cheese)
  1. Heat oil in a large saucepan on high.  Saute onion for 2-3 minutes until tender.
  2. Add mince. Brown well, breaking up with the back of a spoon as it cooks. Stir in the sauce, mushrooms, wine and water. Bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce heat. Stir in pasta. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until pasta is tender. Season to taste. Serve immediately topped with parsley and parmesan, if liked.

I know it is a crazy idea to COOK a meal during such hot, sticky, humid weather that we have been having this past week.  We grabbed our pasta, and had a picnic together on the floor of the living room with the air conditioner on full!

In case you want to listen to some Roxette as you cook this meal, here you go –


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