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Playing Umami Meat Sauce and Spaghetti


  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 to 6 anchovy filets or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 small red chili, chopped or 1 teaspoon flakes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup sweet vermouth or dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 1 cup passatta or tomato purée
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound spaghetti
  • EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, for topping
  • Pecorino cheese, optional


Serves: 4


Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta.

In sauce pot over medium heat, heat oil, 3 turns of the pan. Add anchovies and melt into oil; add garlic, chilies, onions and stir 5 minutes to soften. Add meat and brown and crumble then add paste, thyme and bay. Deglaze pot with vermouth or wine and reduce until almost evaporated. Add stock and passatta, and stir in parsley. Simmer at low bubble for 20 minutes. 

Salt boiling water and cook pasta to al dente, 7-8 minutes.  Add about 1 cup starchy water to sauce then drain pasta and toss with sauce to coat. Serve in shallow bowls garnished with a drizzle of EVOO and some cheese, if you like.