We didn’t get to see much of my dad growing up unless we hung out at his restaurant and then it had to be on off hours when the restaurant was slow, in between meals or early in the morning. As we got older being in the kitchen became dangerous because we were eligible to be drafted to a white apron and put to work. I promised myself and those that would listen, that I would never marry a man in the restaurant or hotel business. Just so I could prove the statement “ never say never” is good advice, I did just that.
I met my husband when I was working in one of the restaurants he managed. The attraction was immediate. He was tall, dark, and handsome. He wore double-breasted suits and walked around the place like he was royalty, nodding with silent gestures and orders. I found myself compelled to question his authority every chance I got. He was just so damn sure of himself it drove me crazy and besides how else was I to get his attention. Suffice it to say my plan eventually worked. I had to get my friend “Donald” to send me flowers to the restaurant, for all to see, to get the ball rolling but that’s another story.
On our second date we ended up in the kitchen and that’s when I knew I was going to marry him. He was an amazing cook, patient and methodical. He had, what my dad liked to call “that little touch” when it came to food. He just felt like home.
Twenty-seven years and three kids later, we are still in the kitchen together. This is one of my favorite dishes he makes. I know it looks like just pasta with meat sauce but it ain’t my friend. The Persians have so much to contribute to the culinary world that has yet to be discovered and one of my favorite of all times is Tadeek. Tadeek is the crunchy, crispy, buttery, yumminess that comes from the bottom of the pan. It transforms this pasta and hamburger dish into something exotically different yet still familiar. There are many different ways to make tadeek but in this recipe we will be making it with pocket bread.
Mo’s Persian Pasta
1lb penne or elbow macaroni
1 lb ground beef
2 tbl olive oil
1 medium onion
3-4 gloves garlic
2 tsp turmeric
salt and pepper to taste
1 6oz can tomato paste
6oz water from the empty can of tomato paste
2 tbl ghee or clarified butter
1 large piece of pocket bread or 3 small
1 dish towel to cover pot
1. Drop the pasta in a stockpot of salted boiling water and cook at a boil until al dente.
2. In the meantime sauté the onions, garlic and turmeric in olive oil until the turmeric releases it’s aroma and the onions and garlic are soft.
3. add ground beef and cook until almost done.
4. add tomato paste and water. Saute until mixed well
5. add salt and pepper to taste and set aside.
6. drain the pot you cooked the pasta in and set the pasta aside.
7. add ghee to the same pot on medium heat, once melted place the bread on the bottom of the pot. The bread should completely cover the bottom. In this picture I use the small pieces of bread to demonstrate how to use them. The larger bread is very simple you just place it in the pan. Need a video? Click here
8. add the pasta and then spill the meat mixture on top. Mix well, careful not to disturb the bread.
9. once mixed form the pasta into a mound. Place three sheets of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel on top of the pot and place the lid of the pot on top of the towel so that the towel is sealed by the lid. Reduce heat to low and cook for 1 hour.
Remove the lid of the pot and spoon the pasta on a platter. Slip a spatula under the bread and lift out as one piece and place inverted on the platter. The bread should be golden brown and deliciously crunchy. A Piece should be broken off for each serving.