Every Armenian family has two signature dishes: Red Rice (Garmir Pilaf, my mother’s recipe here) which is rice cooked in a tomato sauce with cubes of beef and Macaron, not to be confused with dainty French almond meringue sandwich cookies. We Armenians refer to pasta in general as macaron(i) and by default, pasta steamed with seasoned ground beef in a tomato sauce. The pasta is par-cooked, mixed with the sauce and set over a very low flame to cook slowly in a big pot with potatoes browning on the bottom. It’s a cinch to go vegan with this recipe. Just ditch the beef for mushrooms or TVP. This is a crowd-pleaser. Even fussy little ones will lick the bowls clean!
Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 45 mins
1 white onion, chopped
1/2 cup pure extra virgin olive oil
4-5 cloves garlic, smashed
1 lb pasture-raised ground beef (or crimini mushrooms, TVP if vegan)
1 Tb tomato paste
1 Tb red pepper paste
1 tsp Arabic 7-spice
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
3 Tb Worcestershire sauce (omit if vegan)
1/2 stick butter (omit if vegan)
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 lemon, juice only
2 medium potatoes, cut into small cubes
1 lb pasta (any shape you like), par-cooked in salted boiling water
1/2 cup frozen peas (optional)
Set a large pot of water to boil.
Salt the water generously and add pasta.
Cook 3-4 mins less than recommended in the instructions on the packet.
Peel and cube potatoes, collect in a bowl and cover with cold water. Set aside.
Set another pot onto medium heat.
Drizzle with olive oil and add chopped onion.
Add smashed garlic cloves.
Add minced beef or “meat.”
Sautée til browned, ~10 mins.
Add tomato paste, red pepper paste 7-spice, turmeric, cinnamon, Worcestershire.
Season to taste and add lemon juice.
Drain pasta and add to a large bowl. Set aside.
Add meat mixture and frozen peas to the pasta and mix gently.
Drain potato cubes and arrange in a single layer at the bottom of the pot.
Drizzle olive oil and a good sprinkle of salt over them.
Add meat-pasta mixture.
Top with slices of butter, put the lid on and set very low heat.
Gently steam 30-45 mins.
Lift the lid and see if you can smell the cooked potatoes. Trust me, your nose knows.
Place a large heatproof platter over the pot and VERY CAREFULLY flip the pot onto the platter.
Expect some wows with this presentation.
Now you have enough food to feed an army. So set the table, invite everyone for dinner!
Serve w yogurt, salad, pickles and garlic bread.