spaghetti a la cochon dingue

Ever since Rock brought me to Cochon Dingue in Quebec City when I was pregnant, I have been obsessed with their ‘spaghetti magnifico.’  It’s just spaghetti with meat sauce topped with some sautéed vegetables but it’s sooooo good.  There’s something about the sauce that makes it taste totally different from any other spaghetti sauce I’d had.  But turns out Rock’s mom’s ‘ma sauce spaghetti Italienne’ tastes pretty damn close!  And no wonder it doesn’t taste like your usual spaghetti sauce ‘cus there’s some rather unconventional ingredients (to me anyway!) in there such as Campbell’s soup, chilli sauce and soy sauce.  Anyway, Rock’s mom gifted him a beautiful handwritten book of all her recipes for Christmas and her spaghetti sauce recipe is in there.  So I used an adapted version of her sauce recipe and plus roasted some veggies, hoping to recreate my fave QC food (other than poutine of course).

Rock’s mom’s spaghetti sauce: 1 lb lean ground beef  /  1 tbsp olive oil  /  1 cup diced celery   /  3 carrots, diced  /  1 cup diced onion  /  1 tbsp sugar  /  salt and pepper to taste  /  2 garlic cloves, minced  /  1 can crushed tomatoes (I think it’s about 750ml)  /  1 can (5.5oz each) tomato paste  /  1 can Campbell’s tomato soup  /  1/2 bottle (455ml) Heinz chilli sauce  /  1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce  /  1 tbsp soy sauce  /  2 bay leaves  /  3 drops of tabasco sauce  /  1 tbsp thyme  /  1 tbsp parsley  /  1 tbsp marjoram   / ~1/2 tbsp cayenne pepper (adjust according to how much heat you want)  /  1 tbsp Italian spices

Whatever vegetables you like, roughly cut into large pieces, for roasting.  I used 1 stalk of celery, a large handful of mushrooms, yellow and red peppers and a zucchini.  And of course, spaghetti!

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In a large pot over medium to medium-high heat, cook the beef, garlic, onion, celery and carrot with the oil until the beef is cooked through.  Then just throw in all the rest of the ingredients, cover with a lid and turn the heat down to a simmer.  Now all you have to do is let it slowly simmer away for 3.5 to 4 hours, giving it a little stir every now and again.

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This sauce is AMAZING!  Anyway, close to when you wanna serve your spaghetti, scatter your veggies on a baking sheet, drizzle a bit of oil over top, season with some salt and pepper and slide into a 375F oven for about 20 minutes.  And while everything’s coming together, cook up your spaghetti til al dente.  And to serve, just plate up the spaghetti with some sauce generously ladled over and then some roasted veggies toppled over top.

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Update: I have since made Rock’s mom’s spaghetti sauce about a kajillion times and everyone that tries it loves it.  Sometimes I make it with lean ground turkey instead of beef and it tastes just as great. Definitely try it!

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