Friday, September 26, 2008

Beef Soboro & Pesto Spaghetti

soboro pasta

This Japanese-style fusion pasta was created out of the desire to use up leftovers in the fridge. I wanted to use up leftover pesto spaghetti from the previous night's dinner, so I combined it with some beef soboro that I prepared earlier that week (as part of my bento stash). A little to my surprise, the combination worked together really well. The slight bitterness of the basil pesto and the sweetness of the beef soboro provide an interesting and flavourful contrast. In fact, it was good enough that I have added it to the list of pastas I will repeat making.

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The pesto I use is the traditional pesto alla genovese, which is made from (Genovese) basil, salt, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, pine nuts and a grated hard cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano. I've not actually tried to make pesto on my own, but I intend to get around to it someday. It's easier to buy bottled pesto these days - just look for a good quality product which actually contains all or a high percentage of extra virgin olive oil.

Soboro is a moist, crumbled and seasoned meat/egg in Japanese, and is often sprinkled over rice in bento lunches. It is similar to furikake, which is also sprinkled over rice, but furikake is dry, and soboro more moist.

Beef Soboro (adapted from Just Bento)

450g minced beef (as lean as possible)
1 Tbsp sesame oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp sake
3 Tbsp dark soya sauce
2 Tbsp oyster sauce
  1. Heat the sesame oil in a pan and fry the garlic until fragrant. 
  2. Add the beef and brown well, separating it as you cook so the mince does not clump together. 
  3. Add the sugar and stir until it is a bit caramalised. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer until the liquid is almost gone, but the meat is still moist. 
  4. Taste, and add more seasoning if required. The meat should be strongly flavoured, as it is meant to be eaten with plain rice.
Soboro is a popular rice topping for bentos, and it can also be used as an onigiri filling. It keeps for a week in the fridge and can also be frozen.

Beef Soboro & Pesto Spaghetti

1/2 - 3/4 cup beef soboro
250g spaghetti
approx 4 heaped tsp pesto alla genovese (basil pesto)
  1. Cook spaghetti or other thin, long pasta (in salted water) according to the packet's instructions, less one minute. Drain, then pour back into a pot.
  2. On low heat, add the pesto to the spaghetti and mix. (I use around 4 heaped tsp of pesto for 250g spaghetti.)
  3. Add about 1/2 - 3/4 cup of beef soboro for 250g pasta. (If your soboro has been in the fridge, make sure it is heated through well. You can also microwave it before mixing it into the pasta).
  4. Taste, and season with salt and pepper, and add more pesto or soboro if necessary. The soboro is quite salty, so you may not find it necessary to season the pasta with additional salt. 
Optional: Add some spinach leaves and mix with the heated pasta until the leaves wilt slightly.


Caroline Melisa said...

looks delicious ^^♥

Claudia said...

Thanks, Caroline Melisa! Actually, I've not made this for a long time, so thanks for your comment, as it reminded me to make this again! :)

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