Persian Macaroni (Persian Spaghetti)
Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 1 hour
Ready in: 1 hour 10 min
Yields: 6 servings
1 large onion peeled and chopped
5 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
8 tablespoons oil divided
1 pound ground beef
1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon dried oregano (optional)
¼ teaspoon ground saffron (optional)
1 can green peas drained (optional)
1 pound spaghetti
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add onions and garlic; cook for about 5 minutes. Add ground beef, tomato paste, salt, pepper and turmeric; cook for 5 minutes. Stir in oregano; cook 2 to 3 minutes or until meat is slightly browned. Stir in saffron and green peas, remove from heat. Fresh or frozen peas (1½ cups) can be substituted for canned peas and 1½ teaspoons fresh chopped oregano can be substituted for dry oregano. To add more moisture to the pasta, add about ½ cup hot water to the meat and simmer it for up to 10 minutes while the pasta is cooking (optional).
Bring 6 quarts of water and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil in a large nonstick pot. Add pasta to the boiling water, stirring occasionally to prevent it from sticking. Cook for 8 minutes or until the pasta is “al dente”, firm but not hard. Drain in a colander.
Add 4 tablespoons oil to the same pot used to cook the pasta. Layer pasta and meat in the pot, alternating layers until all the ingredients are used. Place a clean dish towel or 2 layers of paper towel over the pot, folding the corners to keep away from the heat source. Cover the pot firmly with a lid; cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until it starts steaming. Lower heat to low, cook for 30 minutes. For potato crust, place ½-inch thick slices of potato on the bottom of the pot.
To unmold the pasta, place a round serving platter upside down on top of the pot. Using pot holders firmly grab the serving platter and the pot flipping them over together, as you would invert a cake pan. This will keep the tadigh intact.
Serve with Cucumber and Tomato Salad.