Hands down one of my favorite things to eat. I am so picky about meat sauce I rarely even order at a restaurant. I can not stand large chunks of ground meat, it's just not a great texture. This is a classic Greek dish and the Kima (aromatic meat mixture) is used in pastitsio and mousaka. Aromatic spices such as ground cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice along with bay leaf give the sauce a distinct flavor and a nice alternative to herb based meat sauces. Greeks generally use grated onion in most sauce dishes, this approach I think is very unique and flavors the sauce so that the liquids pick up the onion flavor and one doesn't bite into chunks of onion of garlic rather, it creates the background of the sauce.
The pasta is the Greek Misko brand found at most ethnic markets. While I normally cook pasta al dente, this one needs to be fully cooked. The first time I made this for my now husband, he was so happy with the dish he said it rivaled his mom's and for a Greek boy that is significant, he to this day sites it as a favorite. I was, gasp, out of any real good Greek cheese like mizithra, kasseri or feta, so I skipped the cheese all together. Cut me some slack, it's like Antarctica out there.
1 lb. quality ground sirloin or 1/2 lb. ground sirloin, 1/2 lb. ground lamb
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup of tomato paste
1 cup of tomato puree
1/2 cup of water
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tablespoon of table salt
1/2 tablespoon ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash of freshly ground nutmeg
dash of freshly ground all spice
2 bay leafs
1 500g bag of Misko #5
1.) Bring to a boil a large pot filled with cold water and cook pasta per package directions.
2.) Grate one small onion and one clove of garlic
3.) Heat 2 tbl. olive oil in large pan, add onion and cook for 1-3 minutes over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute.
4.) Brown the ground sirloin for a few minutes add spices and wine, cook for an additional minute until alcohol evaporates.
5.) Add tomato paste and mix in, add tomato puree and water. Mix thoroughly and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 30 minutes on low. Check seasoning.
6.) After draining pasta, add 2 tbl. olive oil to pasta pot. Heat oil for a minute and add pasta, turn off the heat. Pasta will sizzle, place on plate and serve with sauce mixture.