I was reading The Wok of Life blog yesterday. Those gals (I think they’re women) have some unbelievable taste buds. They made this, but of course, The Goddess changed a few things around. Okay, she changed a lot. Either way, you’re gonna’ love this. This goes together rather quickly, making it a quick mid-week meal. If you’re kids don’t like spicy hot food, simply omit the Sichuan peppercorns and the crushed red pepper flakes. It will still be very good. I will be trying this with julienned carrots in it and maybe some bean sprouts or julienned snow peas.
Some things to consider—When you put the water on to boil, you can begin to cook the sauce. You’ll need to have all the slicing and dicing pretty much done, or the pasta will overcook. You can cook the sauce earlier in the day, refrigerate it and reheat it, as indicated in the recipe. I think you might find the flavor is even better when it’s reheated.
If you require gluten-free, then you’ll need to make certain the soy or tamari is gluten-free. I doubt if you can find dark soy sauce that’s gluten free, so substitute molasses. Instead of spaghetti you can serve this over rice or use rice noodles.
I serve it sprinkled with scallions and cilantro, with a squeeze of lime juice over it. Make certain you taste the sauce. It should taste just slightly on the salty side before you add the pasta. The pasta will suck the salt out the sauce, so plan accordingly.
This has a very savory, meaty flavor. If you want a bit of sweetness, drizzle in 1-2 tablespoons of honey. I love hoisin sauce, so a dollop on top of more portion is always welcome. And a good squeeze of lime juice will make the flavors pop.
Asian-Style Pasta & Meat Sauce
- 1 lb dried spaghetti or egg noodles
- 1 – 1 1/2 lb(s). ground beef
- 1 good cup diced onion, finely diced
- 8-10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons Shao Shing wine or dry sherry
- 6-7 dried mushrooms (I used Flower Shiitake), diced
- 3 cups chicken or beef stock
- 1/3 cup oyster sauce
- 1/4 cup light soy sauce (I use lower-sodium soy or GF if required)
- 4 teaspoons dark soy sauce
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1-2 teaspoons whole toasted Sichuan peppercorns, crushed slightly
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes or 1-2 dried Thai chiles, thinly sliced
- 1 good cup frozen peas (no need to thaw them)
- 1/2 bell pepper, cut into thin julienne
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot, mixed with 2 tablespoons water
- 2-3 scallions, thinly cut on the bias
- Fresh cilantro leaves, torn or coarsely chopped (optional)
- Lime wedges to serve
Begin cooking the sauce when you put the pasta water on to boil.
Heat a wok over high heat; add the ground beef and cook until is begins to brown. Break up any large chunks of beef. Add the onion, garlic, and Shao Shing; lower the heat to medium. Continue to cook until the onion is transparent; toss in the diced dried mushrooms (I don’t reconstitute them) and pour in the stock.
Bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer. Stir in the oyster and soy sauces, Worcestershire, sesame oil, Sichuan pepper and crushed red pepper flakes. Cover; simmer for 8 minutes. I like to let this mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before continuing with the recipe. (If you make this ahead, stop here. Refrigerate until needed. When you’re ready to continue, add this mixture to a wok and continue with the recipe).
Cook the spaghetti in the salted boiling water, but undercook it by at least 2 minutes, as it will finish cooking in the sauce; it took about 5 minutes. Remove the cover, add the peas and pepper strips; stir for one minute. Re-stir the arrowroot slurry until combined; stirring constantly, drizzle the slurry over the mixture. The sauce will thicken almost immediately; do not over thicken. It should just coat the back of a spoon.
Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water; dump the pasta right into wok. Toss with the meat sauce until the pasta is completely coated in sauce. Let the mixture simmer for 1-2 minutes or until the pasta is just al dente. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a little of the reserved pasta water. Pour into a large bowl and top with the scallions and cilantro, if using.
NOTE: The sauce can also be served over rice or rice noodles, too. Feel free to add more peas, some thinly julienned carrots or other vegetable like zucchini, diced eggplant (add with the onions), julienned sweet potatoes, etc.
Asian-Style Pasta & Meat Sauce Recipe©Marcia Lahens 2019. All rights reserved.
When I use Sichuan peppercorns whole, I like to crush them just slightly. I find this little dish or any small flat-bottomed thing can be used. Or a rolling pin or wine bottle turned on its side. Instead of red crushed chile flakes, I used two dried Thai chiles. I sliced the top off of each little flaming beauty, dumped most of the seeds out and then cut them into about four or five pieces. Add more seeds if you want it hotter. I just dropped them into the sauce mixture.
I used dried Flower Shiitake mushrooms. I decided to just diced up the dried mushrooms and add them without reconstituting them. It worked just fine. I like them and use them frequently, but you can use fresh, if you wish.
I changed the recipe pretty significantly, but as I said, I got the idea from The Wok of Life Blog. It’s a great blog…go there and make their recipes. Gather you family and friends, get out the Tsingtao beer, with maybe some Asian-Flavored Slaw Sichuan Cucumber Salad. Enjoy!