Clearly this girl loves her pasta, yeah? I really, really do.
I know I’ve posted a lot of pasta dishes since starting this blog. And it’s because I eat a lot of pasta dishes! And to all those people who ban pasta (of all sorts) from their bellies, I’ll pick up the slack. I got it. Don’t you worry ‘bout nothin’.
I love a big bowl of satisfyingly hearty pasta as much as the next—if not more. So I’m really happy to share with you my favorite pasta dish of all time. This is what I tend to simply call “spaghetti” at home and I bet many of you do the same when you’re in fact referring to some type of meat ragu atop a healthy bowl of pasta. But since technically “spaghetti” refers to that cylindrical pasta shape with which we’re all most familiar, let me be clear and call this dish what it really is—spaghetti with beef marinara. You know, just in case you didn’t read the title of this blog post before arriving at this point in the post.
Now we’ll go off on a bit of a tangent but trust that we’ll very soon arrive back to where we began.
So this blog is a place where I can organize a collection of thoughts, photographs, and recipes for my favorite foods, truly of all time. And these perhaps one day may serve as an index for my family, hopefully one day, children and grandchildren to refer to so that they can have a good foundation of recipes from which to take not only said recipes, but also a bite of their culture, some inspiration for their own dishes, lots of love, and most importantly, health.
Stepping out of my mother’s kitchen, she’s provided me with all of that. All the Persian dishes I make, they’ve sprouted from within her kitchen. This blog is my way of preserving her amazingly delicious and healthy Persian dishes as the origin of my own food journey, and adding to that my food and cooking experiences as a Persian girl, but born and raised in California.
So this leads me back to my spaghetti dish. This is full-flavored food-love right here. If you are a first-generation Persian-American like myself, your mother might cook her spaghetti the way she cooks her Persian rice. And with that, you get spaghetti tahdig to boot—crispy rice at the bottom of the pot, and in this instance, crispy spaghetti at the bottom of the pot. I love that she does it and it’s actually quite tasty like that, but for pasta, in my own kitchen I prefer to make it Italian-style. That’s the beauty of being a first-generation Persian in the States. I’m lucky enough to have my strong and vibrant Persian roots running through my veins, but they’re intertwined with the bountiful cultural surroundings I experience as an American. Of course, the foods I cook at home are a direct product of who I am—and that’s all of the above. And I love that.
As for this dish right here, it’s all heart with a touch of happy belly, no matter where it came from. And I love that too.
I hope you love this dish and don’t worry much about sticking to the amounts in the recipe. Like most of my recipes, just go for what tastes good to you and as always, err on the side of more. Enjoy it!
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1 large onion, grated
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 2 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- ½ tsp red chili flakes, or to taste
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- Plenty of salt and pepper (or to taste)
- 1 whole head of garlic, all cloves peeled and chopped into large chunks
- 1 whole can (6 oz) tomato paste
- 1 whole jar (32 oz) of good marinara pasta sauce, look for one that is a rich red color and not so watery
- 1 box (2 lbs) of thick spaghetti pasta (or your favorite pasta, whatever that may be)
- Grated/shaved parmesan cheese to taste for topping off your bowl
- 1 bunch of fresh basil leaves, ripped into large pieces to top off your bowl