I learned two valuable lessons today. First, when you run out of sausages to cook with your pasta, use plain ground pork and season it as though you were making sausage. Brown the meat well over medium heat so that the cooking is prolonged a little, giving the ground pork more time to absorb the seasonings and for flavors to develop.
Second, if you run out of the traditional herbs for making pesto (i.e., basil and / or parsley), you can substitute other leafy green vegetables. You won’t get the enticing aroma that herbs impart but you’ll still get the nutrition, the color and the distinct flavor of the substituted vegetable.
Spaghetti With Spiced Pork and Black Olives
- enough spaghetti for 3 people boiled in salted water
- 4 to 6 tablespoons olive oil (doesn’t have to be extra virgin)
- 1/4 kilogram ground pork (with some fat)
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 large onion chopped
- salt to taste
- sugar enough to create a nice balance
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pinch chili
- 1 small bunch Chinese broccoli (leaves only; reserve the stalks for another dish), finely chopped
- 1/4 cup sliced black olives
- grated cheese to serve
- Heat the olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add the ground pork, breaking up lumps. Cook over medium heat until the meat is no longer pink.
- Add the garlic, onion, salt, sugar, pepper and chili. Cook over medium heat, with occasional stirring, until the meat is browned and the onion bits and garlic have started to caramelize. Don’t short cut this step — it is the browning and caramelizing that will really give the meat the sausage flavor.
- Add the chopped Chinese broccoli and olives. Cook just until heated through.
- Throw in the cooked spaghetti. Toss to coat every noodle with the now very tasty mixture of olive oil and pork fat.
- Divide the pasta among three dishes, sprinkle with cheese and serve.