Saturday, February 12, 2011

Spaghetti Soup

Dinner tonight: Spaghetti, Salad, No-Knead Rye Bread

I have always make make own spaghetti sauce, the recipe handed down from my mother. It never turns out exactly the same way twice, probably because I have never made it the same way twice. But it never fails to gets good reviews and all three of my children have requested the recipe (multiple times!) since they have left the nest. When I worked, about once a month, I would make a huge pot of sauce on the weekend and we would have spaghetti 2 or three times during the week, heating up the sauce, cooking fresh pasta and fixing a quick salad when I arrived home. The family never complained  about repeats and it was a "quick to the table" meal.

Last June, while in Uganda, I helped Pam Hunter, the missionary we were staying with, teach a cooking class to a handful of Ugandan women. I had never thought of it, but when you grow up in abject poverty, learning to cooking is difficult at best. These woman were eager to learn even the most basic cooking skills and thrilled to learn "real American" recipes. Pam had been holding the class weekly for several months and asked if I had any ideas on what we could prepare. The real challenging is to find ingredients that are available and inexpensive. Jinja, where we were had no real supermarkets, but lots of fresh produce (onions, garlic, peppers, tomatoes, fresh herbs) Minced meat (hamburger)was available but a little pricey as were pasta noodles (much to my surprise). Pam had some oregano on hand and once the ladies took a whiff, they were certain that they could find that spice in the market. When the ladies assembled for class, I told them we would be making spaghetti, a popular American dish. Using the Internet, I showed them a picture of the completed dish. A few hours later, when we sat down to our spaghetti dinner, one of the ladies happily remarked, "It's just like the picture!" They loved the "spaghetti soup", as they called it, substituting the word sauce for soup. I was charmed. I emphasized that the "soup" could be made without meat and was often served that way in the U.S. The only critique: A little bland...it could use more pepper. I assured them that spicy was perfectly acceptable way to serve spaghetti soup.

Here's how I made the Sauce today. It's a smallish amount, but it will last the two of us for a few meals. I usually brown up some fresh sausage with the hamburg but there was none in the freezer. Peppers, are an occasional addition, but with two in the refrigerator, one was destined for the pot today.

Ingredients

Just Like the Picture!
1 pound hamburg
1 T. Olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 oz. package of mushrooms sliced
1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped
2 1 pound cans diced tomatoes
1 twelve once can tomato paste
2 tomato paste cans of water
1 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried basil
2t. salt
1 t. pepper
1 pound spaghetti, cooked.

Directions:

1) Heat oil in large pot. Add hamburg meat and brown, using spoon to break into smaller chunks.
2) Add onions, garlic, peppers and mushrooms. Cook until soft, stirring.
3) Add remaining 7 ingredients, thru pepper. Stir. Bring to a boil then turn heat down and simmer for a couple of hours.
4) Cook spaghetti, drain and serve with sauce.

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