No time for a full-on cooking or blog this week, darlings. I’m off to Phoenix for a conference. But I did whip up a little deliciousness for you, based on rereading Mario Puzo’s classic The Godfather. This recipe is not found anywhere in the book or sequel, yet it seems so classic, basic, yet so deliciously part of that world. I can see Michael eating this rustic dish with Apollonia at her father’s bar in Sicily, feeding it to each other and laughing. Being in Sicily, this dish would have likely featured tomatoes, almonds, olives and perhaps raisins. But, again, since this recipe is nowhere to be found in any “Godfather” novels and is my own creation, I am envisioning it here. Ritorna a Sicilia!
Hey! It’s my blog and I can envision anything anywhere with anyone. I can have Mr. Spock drinking butterbeer with Hermione Grainger, put Jay Gatsby eating tortillas with Antonio Marez and the Vampire Lestat, and have Michael Corleone and Apollonia Vitelli consume ground beef with peas, and damn it, it’s my world and that’s what they’ll do.
Anyway, I digress.
I had a packet of thawed ground beef, a small packet of frozen peas, a half of a white onion, a need to clean out my fridge before a trip, and some creativity. This is the method that worked for me.
1/2 pound ground beef, about 85% fat free. You want some fat for flavor.
1/2 finely diced white onion
1/2 teaspoon each of dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano and garlic powder
1 cup sliced button mushrooms or any mushroom of your choice
2 cups frozen peas
Salt and pepper
Crushed red chili flakes
Melt butter and olive oil together. Add dried herbs, stir together for about 1 minute, then add the diced onion, salt and pepper. Stir again slowly for 5-7 minutes, until the herbs start giving off their delicious scent. Add the ground beef, break up with a wooden spoon, season lightly with a bit more salt and pepper, and then add the red chile flakes and sliced mushrooms. Combine with your wooden spoon, breaking up the meat so it is in small ground bits and ensuring the spices and oil are evenly distributed. When the meat is still pink but not fully cooked, add in your frozen peas and a small bit of hot water. Stir together again for about 3-5 minutes. You want to make sure the peas are cooked through and there is no trace of pink in the meat.
When you are certain your meat and peas are cooked to the thorough point of perfectness, turn off the heat and sprinkle over a generous amount of grated Parmesan. Stir again, cover with a lid and leave for about 5-10 minutes. Then serve and eat with utter happiness in your soul.
You could, I suppose, add a starch in the line of mashed potatoes, rice, egg noodles or some other silliness. I find, however, that the sheer perfection of onions, peas, mushrooms and ground beef is all I need. You’ll sleep better, too, without all those nightmare-inducing carbs sending you off to a disturbed rest. With this, you’ll dream of Michael in Sicily.
O dio mio.