Sunday Pasta Dinner Posted by: | March 29, 2010

Only 1 day into blogging my cooking and I already have my first kitchen accident. My kitchen door is transparent glass, and I stormed out of the kitchen when it was still closed. Totally slammed my face and my spectacles made a small cut into my face. It was such a loud bang and my face swelled up immediately. Great. Now I look like I’ve been punched in the face. This accident is such an irony against my blog title that I still have to laugh when I think about it amidst the pain.

Anyway, luckily the accident happened when I had already finished cooking my dinner. So I could at least enjoy a nice dinner while icing my face. LOL.

Let’s rewind to earlier this evening. I’m usually lazy on Sundays, but I’m even more reluctant to buy food from the opposite coffee shop for dinner, or even worse, call Mac Donalds, on a Sunday night. It’s weekend. Why torture myself with bad, stale food? So I dragged myself out of the house to buy fresh ingredients for my dinner. I was going to make an easy pasta dish from the Real Simple Recipe book that Marie bought for me from the States. I love Real Simple magazines & website. They have really good easy, no-fuss recipes that do not compromise on taste and health. And what better gift than a book compilation of best recipes from Real Simple? Marie is such a darl :)

Pasta with Beef meat sauce

I tweaked the recipe slightly by using Passata sauce together with Chopped tomatoes from the can to make the sauce, instead of relying only on chopped tomatoes. Passata is an Italian fresh sieved tomato sauce, and possibly uncooked (it is still inconclusive whether the sauce is cooked or uncooked). I find that it has a much fresher, richer and sweeter taste than normal canned diced tomatoes. Even Italians use Passata for their pasta sauces instead of using fresh tomatoes as these tend to become very watery. If you make your pasta sauce “from scratch” like this, you will never go back to bottled pasta sauces that come pre-flavoured with God knows what inside. The second key ingredient to this dish are the carrots. They lend such a sweet and savoury taste to the sauce that makes you wonder why you haven’t thought about it earlier. And it’s healthy too :)

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

- 3/4 box of Spaghetti (I prefer Barilla, even though it’s overpriced over here)

- 2 tbsp olive oil

- 1 large onion, chopped

- 2 carrots, chopped

- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

- About 200g minced beef, sea salt & black pepper

- 1 x 400g can of diced/chopped tomatoes

- about 2/3 of a 400g Passata sauce bottle.

- chopped parsley leaves or basil leaves.

- grated Parmesan for upon serving


1. Cook the pasta according to package directions. Add a pinch of salt and a few drops of Olive Oil into the pasta water so the pasta won’t stick later on.

2. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and toss in the chopped onion, carrots and garlic. Cook & Stir until soft. This should take about 10 minutes. The smaller you chop the carrots, the faster it will cook and release its flavours into the sauce.

3. Increase heat to high. Add the beef together with 3/4 tsp salt and generous amount of pepper. Break up the meat with a wooden spoon quickly. As soon as the meat turns from pink to brown, add the chopped tomatoes and passata sauce. Leave it to simmer and reduce, while stirring occasionally. After about 5 minutes, when the sauce has thickens somewhat, add in either parsley or chopped basil leaves. I also like to add oregano powder for extra fragrance.

4. Serve the pasta with the sauce and grate parmesan cheese on top (tastes much better than Parmesan powder that are so abundantly available at pasta outlets :P).

This comfort home dinner wrapped up my lovely weekend. And despite my blue-black eye, I still feel satisfied for having made a good meal for myself. Oh and did I mention, it only took me 30 min to prepare? It’s really not worth eating fast food on weekends. Or ever. :)


6 Responses to “Sunday Pasta Dinner”

  1. Brownfish says:

    Awesome looking recipe! I hope the swelling goes down so that it won’t stop you from cooking and blogging :) By the way the graphic header is amazing!!!!

    • Chi Anh says:

      Thanks Brownfish… I’ll try to keep cooking despite the casualty :P And yeah, the header is awesome. A friend helped me design it. He’s a freelance designer. If you like what you see let me know, I can hook you guys up.

  2. Danielle says:

    OMG I’m so glad I found this website! Fantastic recipes complimented with a great layout and beautifully illustrated drawings. Brilliant! Love it, love it, love it! =)

    I’ll check back for more delicious recipes!

  3. Marie says:

    It looks like your first dish from the Real Simple cookbook is a total success! Congrats! It looks very delicious.
    Hope your face heals soon, and can’t wait to be your dinner guest! How about next week? :)

  4. Chi Anh says:

    Marie: Sure hun. Can’t wait to see you again :) and Brainy wants to meet you too! I’ll be studying the menu and let you know what’s for dinner :)

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