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Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
Pasta with tomato and meat sauce
4.94 from 46 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 10 mins
Total Time 1 hr 20 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Persian
Servings 4


Meat sauce

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 5 tablespoons oil, divided
  • 1 pound beef, ground
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, adjust to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 teaspoon Advieh (Persian spice mix)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 fresh lemon, juiced


  • 10-12 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 pound bucatini pasta, or spaghetti


Meat sauce

  • In a large frying pan, saute the onions with 3 tablespoons oil over medium heat for 10 minutes or until translucent.
  • Add the ground meat and continue to saute for 5 minutes on medium-high heat, or until the meat has turned light brown.
  • Add garlic, salt, pepper, turmeric, Advieh and tomato paste, and stir over medium-high heat for 5 additional minutes.
  • Once the all the spices and tomato paste have been well incorporated into the meat, add 1 cup of water and lemon juice, cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 5 additional minutes. Set aside.


  • In a large pot bring 10-12 cups of water and the salt to a boil.
  • Add the bucatini pasta and stir, and cook on high heat for 10 minutes. Pasta should still be somewhat al dente at the end of the boiling process.
  • Drain the pasta using a colander and rinse ever so briefly to remove some but not all of the starch.

Assembly and cooking

  • Select a non-stick pot that's big enough to cook the pasta and meat in, without a lot of extra room. The pot should ideally be about two thirds full.
  • Place the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in the pot, and decoratively cover the bottom of the pot with some of the slightly rinsed pasta. I make spirals out of of 4-5 strands of pasta each, covering the bottom of the pot with as many spirals as necessary.
  • Add 1/3 of the remaining pasta, followed by 1/3 of the meat sauce. Continue alternating until all the pasta and meat sauce has been placed in the pot.
  • Wrap the lid with a clean towel and place on top of the pot. This will allow the pasta to steam.
  • Allow the pasta to steam over a medium-low heat for 40 minutes.
  • Once the pasta is cooked, cautiously and swiftly invert the pasta out of the pot onto a large serving platter.
  • Serve with a side of Torshi, Persian pickled vegetables.


Advieh – Persian spice mix: Combine equal portions of ground cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, coriander and rose petals. Store in a dark and airtight container for future use. 
Alternatively, you can arrange a layer of potatoes or a tortilla in the bottom of the pot to create a potato or bread Tahdig. 
You can replace the beef with ground turkey or lamb if you prefer.
To create a vegan dish, replace the beef with a variety of mushrooms and eggplants. 
Keyword beef, bucatini, noodles, pasta
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