So, the other evening I was hungry for some spaghetti, and what better reference for searching for pasta than the Queen of pasta herself, Ruth’s blog 4EveryKitchen. Ruth is the founder and host of Presto Pasta Nights, the weekly pasta carnival that tantalizes readers with recipe submissions from all over the world (and cyberspace).
When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it. I modified it only slightly, using ground beef instead of lamb, and I could not find any split yellow peas :-( so I used split green ones. I was very pleased with the results, and the aroma and taste were just delightful. Enjoy!
Persian saffron spiced pasta with split peas
1 cup green split peas, sorted and rinsed
3 cups water
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
6 ounces ground beef
1 small eggplant (about 3/4 pound), unpeeled, diced into small cubes
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon saffron threads
1 19-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/4 cup water
1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
your favorite pasta
Cook the split peas in a large saucepan in 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, lower heat, over and simmer about 20 minutes, until peas are just tender.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a Dutch oven and add onions. Saute over medium heat until soft (5-7 minutes). Do not brown. Crumble ground beef into the pot and continue to saute until meat is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Add the eggplant, salt and pepper and mix well. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant begins to soften (5-6 minutes). Add the cinnamon, saffron, and tomatoes. Mix, cover, and cook over low heat for 15 minutes.
Mix the tomato paste with 1/4 cup water and add to the meat sauce. Fold in the split peas and simmer for 5-10 minutes, until all the flavors meld together. Add som lemon juice, taste for seasonings.
Meanwhile, cook pasta according to instructions, until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving dish. Top with sauce and sprinkle with some freshly chopped parsley. Makes 4-6 servings.