Sporki Macaroni

Sporki means ‘dirty’, which doesn’t sound right as a recipe title. What it does mean, though, is a rugged beef sauce that just coats pasta and, yes, dirties it. This recipe, which comes from Kopun restaurant in Dubrovnik, would be very well accompanied by the local red wine made from the plavac mali grape, which reappears in Puglia in Italy as primitivo, and is also closely related to zinfandel.

Serves 6-8
Easy

Ingredients

30ml olive oil
400g lean beef, cut into pieces 1cm x 2 cm
3 small red onions, chopped
3 small carrots, sliced
1 bay leaf
salt
20 turns black peppermill
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
10g/ 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
300ml Chicken Stock
300ml full-bodied red wine
600g pasta tubes, penne, long macaroni or similar
handful fresh parsley, chopped

Instructions

To make the chicken stock add the bones from a 1.5kg chicken or 450g wings/ drumsticks or leftover bones from a roasted chicken, 1 large carrot, roughly chopped, 2 celery sticks roughly chopped, 2 leeks, sliced, 2 bay leaves, 2 sprigs thyme and 2.25 litres of water to a large pan and bring to the boil, skimming any scum from the surface.

Leave to simmer very gently for 2 hours - it is important not to let it boil as that forces the fat from the chicken and makes the stock cloudy. Strain the stock through a sieve, and simmer a little longer to concentrate the flavour if necessary. If not using immediately, leave to cool, then chill or freeze for later use. This makes about 1.75 litres of stock.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan over a high heat and brown the chunks of beef in batches. When done, return all the meat to the pan, lower the heat, add the chopped onions and carrots and stir.

When the onions and carrots are brown, add the bay leaf and season with 2 teaspoons of salt and the pepper. Stir in the tomato paste, cinnamon and garlic and fry gently for a couple of minutes before adding the chicken stock and the red wine. Bring up to a simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 50-60 minutes, until the beef is tender.

About 15 minutes before you plan to serve, add the pasta to plenty of boiling salted water and cook until al dente. Drain the pasta and add to the meat with the chopped parsley. Stir well and allow to cook over a low heat for about 10 minutes to combine all the flavours.

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