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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ricky Gervais LOVES vermicelli!

I have recently fallen in love with Ricky Gervais, Steven Merchant and Karl Pilkington. I've purchased several of their audiobooks and subscribe to their podcast. During my lunch today I was listening to a bit about Halloween and the idea of the morgue having more fun with this holiday. The suggestion was that they dress up the dead people. It's rare that I'm sitting alone and find myself actually LOLing. As I did it, I considered the idea that most people who use dweebie terms like LOL frequently are liars. Most of us LOL very infrequently when we're alone but emails, text messages, and everything else would suggest otherwise.

I was talking with a co-worker about a strange spaghetti dish I made recently. I've decided to share it. When making it, I took the really easy, really lame way out by using store bought pasta sauce but who cares? With a meal like this, it really wasn't a big deal. This was so easy to make and while it felt awkward to assemble it, I really enjoyed it. It would be really simple to personalize with different meats, spices, etc.

Baked Beef Vermicelli Cake:

1/3 cup butter
1 onion, chopped
1lb. ground beef
1lb. 12oz. tomato pasta sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
9oz. vermicelli or spaghettini
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups milk
1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Grease a deep, 9" round springform pan. Melt a tablespoon of the butter in a large, deep frying pan and cook the onion over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until soft.

2. Add the ground beef, breaking up any lumps and cook until browned. Stir in pasta sauce and tomato paste, reduce heat and simmer for 20-25 minutes.

3. Cook the pasta in salted water, drain and rinse. Melt the remaining butter in a saucepan over low heat, stir in the flour and cook until pale and foaming (about a minute). Remove from heat and gradually stir in milk. Return to heat and stir constantly until sauce boils and thickens. Reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

4. Spread the pasta over the bottom of the pan then cover with half the meat sauce. Cover with remaining pasta, pressing it down. Cover with remaining meat sauce then pour on the white sauce. Sprinkle with cheese and cook for 15 minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

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