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Makrona bel salsa | Tunisian Spicy Pasta



بِسْــــــــــــــــــــــمِ اﷲِارَّحْمَنِ ارَّحِيم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

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Just having come back from a week in Tunisia I think I might actually need a vacation after my vacation :p. Loads of laundry piled high, e-mail box full, projects on-hold and people to visit. But elhamdullah we enjoyed our time in Tunisia.

If you've ever been to Tunisia, you'll know 2 things about Tunisians. They love their food spicy hot and they love their pasta! In fact, after Italians they're the second consumer of pasta in the world, consuming a whopping 12 kg per person a year!


That's lotta pasta to mangia on! 

But Tunisians enjoy their pasta slightly different than their Italian counterparts. First, it's good to point out "makarona" is the universal term used for any variety of pasta, not just specific shape Maccheroni like in Italy. There are 5 main differences: Tunisians use spaghetti and small pasta shapes; they prefer  tomato paste over passata (crushed tomatoes); they prefer their pasta like all their cuisine, spicy hot; they cook the pasta one-pot style instead of seperately and finally usually cook their pasta well-done, not al-dente.

Tunisians as I said enjoy their food extremely spicy. I believe I read somewhere Tunisian food is considered one of the most spicest cuisines in the world. So Tunisians got several world records going for them hehehe. Having enjoyed Tunisian cuisine over the years, even becoming to love to 'spice' I still must say Tunisian food is really spicy so beware! 

Tunisian flavors include bay leaves, massive amounts of garlic, harissa ( a spicy hot pepper paste) and Tabel Carouia (spice mixture that consists of ground coriander, caraway seed, garlic powder, chilli powder and paprika).


But push come to shove, I couldn't really tell you which I like better ... Italian or Tunisian. Both are delicious in their own way! So go grab your pasta and let's make pasta magic!

Just to note, I've made this pasta without chickpeas. Chickpeas are often included in dishes in Tunisian, much like in Algerian cooking. I have used beef, but in Tunisia you'll find ever kind of protein imaginable used in pasta, everything from beef, lamb, chicken, fish, shrimp, tuna to even octupus. You could even make this a vegetarian meal as I often do.



So let's get started with the recipe.



Makarona bel salsa 



 A vibrant Tunisian pasta with beef is a popular, tasty and very filling meal, that's quite quick and easy to prepare. 

cookies| yields about 4-6 servings
KITCHEN TIME 🕓  
ACTIVE PREP TIME: 10mins
INACTIVE PREP TIME: 0 hrs
COOK TIME: 25 min mins
۞ = SUBSTITUTIONS

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 500g -1lb pasta of your choice
‣350g - 12oz beef, cubed
‣ 1 large onion, diced
‣ 3 TBS tomato paste
‣ Harissa (to taste)
‣ 3 bay leaves
‣ handful of precooked chickpeas (optional)
‣ 4 cloves of garlic, minced
‣ 1 hot green chilli (optional)
‣ 2 tsp sweet paprika
‣ 1 tsp ground cumin
‣ 1/2tsp ground craway 
‣ 1/4 tsp ground ginger
‣ 1/2 tsp dried mint
‣ 1 tsp dried basil
‣ salt, black pepper, olive oil

‣ black or green olives (optional garnish)



  1. In a frying pan or large saucepan, heat the oil. Add the spices and bay leaf. Brown for a few minutes while stirring.
  2. Then the meat to brown. Once browned add the onions and garlic. always over medium heat, stirring.
  3. Lower the heat and add the tomato concentrate, and half liter/half qt of water.
  4. Cover and cook for about 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
  5. Once the meat is cooked, add in the precooked chickpeas (if using) and the pasta. You should have enough water to cover the pasta. Cook the pasta in the sauce for about 10 minutes for al-dente or 12 minutes for well-done. 
  6. Spoon into bowls and garnish with black olives, if you like.




    Storage
    ⇝ This pasta will keep in the fridge for about 4days. I wouldn't recomemmend freezing the dish with the cooked pasta inside. 

    Variation
    ⇝ You can use just about any protein here. I have made this dish with ground beef, chicken, shrimp, mix of various seafood and even canned tuna.

    Subsitutions
    ⇝ You can make this dish with rice, bulgur or wheat berries also. Cooking times will vary.

     CATEGORIES:  Tunisian, main dish, pasta



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