Before Greg and I got our own place we lived with a guy whose idea of a great meal was a 7-11 sandwich and a bag of Cheetos. He’d complain endlessly about the smell of “foreign” flavors when we cooked at home. Even the smell of sautéed onions would send him into fits of complaints about the smells coming from the kitchen.
You can imagine our surprise when we came home one day to find him eating food he’d ordered from an Egyptian restaurant. My hometown is famous for their middle-eastern food so not only was I surprised, but genuinely excited to find out about a decent Egyptian restaurant “Deep in the Heart of Texas.” Since the middle eastern food in my hometown is mainly Lebanese I was curious what Egyptian food was like.
We walked over and peaked at his meal, only to see what looked like Spaghetti Bolognese. “That looks quite a bit like Italian food,” I said, only to be answered with a haughty response signifying how uncultured we must be to not realize that Egyptian food is very similar to Italian. Surprised by this, we opened up the menu for “The Egyptian Lounge,”only to discover it to be filled with items like Fettucini Alfredo and followed by small font along the bottom stating “Authentic Italian Cuisine”.
Rather than bursting his bubble we acknowledged our roommates adventurous dinner choice and continued our quest for an authentic Middle Eastern restaurant. However, to this day we jokingly refer to Spaghetti as Egyptian food. So in the spirit of that night, I present to you my take on this classic “Egyptian” dish.
1 medium yellow onion
2 celery sticks
4 garlic cloves
8 ounces mushrooms
1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 pound ground Italian sausage
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 can (28 ounce) organic diced tomatoes
1 can (5 ounce) organic tomato paste
1 can (10 ounce) tomato soup
1 cup red wine like Merlot
2 bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp red wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
In a food processor pulse all vegetables in batches until they are finely chopped. Set aside in a sieve over a large bowl so some of the liquid can drain.
Over medium high heat, brown the ground beef in a large pot until it is no longer pink. Drain the beef and set aside.
In the same pot, cook the ground Italian sausage until no longer pink. Drain and set aside.
Heat 2 Tbsp of olive oil over medium high heat. Add drained, pulsed vegetables and sauté until they begin to caramelize; about 8 minutes.
Add the reserved ground beef and Italian sausage, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato soup, red wine, bay leaves, oregano, red pepper flakes, sugar, balsamic and red wine vinegar. Bring sauce to a boil, stirring well to combine. Salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for a minimum of three hours.
Serve on top spaghetti garnished with basil and Parmesan crisps. (Recipe below)
6 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 325
Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray
Place a biscuit cutter on the prepared cookie sheet and fill it with 1 ½ Tbsp of parmesan cheese. Spread the cheese evenly inside and carefully remove the biscuit cutter. Repeat with remaining cheese. You can sprinkle cheese with spices of your choice; I used dried oregano and red pepper flakes.
Bake in the oven for 7 minutes. When the cheese has cooled carefully remove from baking sheet with a metal spatula.
Store crisps in a food storage container at room temperature separated by parchment paper.