Family Recipe: My Grandmother’s Chinese “Spaghetti” Bolognese (GF, Paleo, Nut-Free, Dairy Free)

 

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bologneseI know I know. Spaghetti Bolognese. Zoe and Mia, couldn’t you come up with a better recipe than that?

Well let me let you on a little secret. This is no ordinary spaghetti bolognese – this is my very own Grandmother’s Chinese inspired spaghetti recipe.

Growing up, the closest experience I had to eating that classic spaghetti bolognese was at Pizza Hut or at a friend’s homes. I absolutely loved twirling my spaghetti noodles around my fork in that deliciously thick meat sauce. It didn’t have the creaminess of an Alfredo sauce (which I also loved), but it definitely didn’t lack any richness or flavor. Somehow I couldn’t get enough of that slow braised meat in tomato sauce, flavored lightly with hints of onion, carrots, celery. Often, it would be served with that powdery, pre-grated parmesan cheese from the plastic container that you find at Walmart. That to me was Italian Spaghetti.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bolognese

But none of those could ever beat my grandmother’s spaghetti bolognese.

Let’s be honest though.

My grandmother is not Italian. She grew up in rural China. Her parents were wealthy  landowners that later lost a lot of their property and money during the Cultural Revolution in the late 1900s. She has never lived anywhere outside of China. In fact, she spent the early years of her marriage in Beijing as a schoolteacher and the rest of her life in Hong Kong. But even then it never stopped her from trying to learn how to cook foreign dishes. My grandmother was an avid learner, she was always open to new things. Most of the best dishes she made was created either by her having tried the dish once or watching it from TV. She was a natural born chef. Her motives for cooking? To make the best dishes for her family especially for her grandchildren that meant the world to her. My grandmother adored us and just like any other Chinese grandparent, she showered us with love by always trying to feed us and whip delicious concoctions that made us squeal with delight. This dish is one of those that always made me feel special. Knowing how much we loved spaghetti, she made this for us all the time.

Although her Spaghetti Bolognese is nowhere near the Classic Italian Bolognese you will find in Italy, but it definitely was something ALL HER grandchildren looked forward too. None of that Italian gourmet food or expensive takeout could ever replace her special spaghetti. Taking influences from Hong Kong Fusion Cooking/Filipino Cuisine and ChiuChow Provinces she created a sweeter, lighter, simpler spaghetti that even my grandfather would enjoy.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bologneseI remember spending summers in her home in the island of Cheung Chau where my sisters and I would enjoy the leisures of the countryside. Being away from the main city, we would be able to enjoy what every other kid could enjoy on a daily basis. We would play on the beach, ride bikes, play hide and seek in our grandparent’s 2 stores home, take long walks without having to worry about cars driving past us, play with the dogs – whilst she would concoct some of the best meals I have ever tasted. Every time she would serve her spaghetti bolognese for lunch we were all excited. I would stand behind her in her old, rustic kitchen whilst she steadily “stir-fried” the large batch of spaghetti in that big wok using her chopsticks, as she coated each strand with the tomato meat sauce until everything was throughly mixed.

There was no cheese sprinkled on, no herbs. Just a delicious plate of meat sauce served over noodles. Nothing fancy, just something simple and rustic. Easy to whip up and impressive.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bolognese

We would gather around a large round family table to share this simple meal. It would be portioned into small porcelain rice bowls and served with a stir-fry of bok choy or mustard greens. For as long as I could remember, I always ate my spaghetti with wooden chopsticks, never once thinking that it wasn’t quite the customary italian way. In a way, it was our Chinese  “Italian” family feast. The whole family would devour it. Every strand of the spaghetti would be gone and polished off by the end of the meal.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bolognese

Even now, I can’t help but reminisce this delicious spaghetti that brings back wonderful memories of my childhood and even memories of her food. Though she never really had the opportunity to travel and taste authentic, gourmet spaghetti, but she managed to recreate something rather unique and quite amazing. My grandmother could not speak a word of Italian let alone much English but her cooking skills were above and beyond.

Zoe and I started feeling nostalgic again so we decided to whip up a batch of this for dinner. Like all Chinese grandmothers, they have no recipes. So we used our memory to recreate this recipe – the ingredients, the flavor and our knowledge of the seasonings she would usually have in her pantry.

You can pair it with linguine. But today to add Sprinkle of Vanilla Sugar’s touch to it we paired this luscious meat sauce with Spaghetti Squash! Yes Squash…and don’t give me that weird look because its actually very very good. Spaghetti Squash has been very popular lately so we decided to try  see what was so good about it. And I must say….it tastes delicious! One bite and I was back to those summer days years ago,  when we were all slurping them down our noodles with our chopsticks, fighting for the last bit of noodles.

I miss my grandmother a lot. I miss her cooking. Whether or not this is truly authentic, I can’t wait to share OUR healthy twist on our FAMILY’S RECIPE. This is a recipe that was made out of love. I want this recipe to pass on to my children so that they too can feel the love my grandmother had for all her children, grandchildren and future great grandchildren.

Spaghetti Squash Bolognese, Spaghetti Squash, Spaghetti Bolognese, Chinese Spaghetti, Pinoy Spaghetti, Jolibee, chinese recipes, Paleo Pasta, gluten free pasta, Meat Ragu, low carb, filipino recipe, pancit, stirfry, asian, noodle stirfry, grandmother's recipes, easy bolognese

Ingredients – serves 2

  • 1/2 spaghetti squash
  • 1 small carrot
  • 1/4 onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 6 oz minced turkey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1.5 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp + 1/4 tsp GF soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 1 tbsp water

How to Make:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut your squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out all the seeds.
  3. In a roasting pan (make sure it has edges), lay your squash flesh side down, skin side up. Just pour over a little water so that it comes barely covers the entire bottom of the tray. This is just to keep the squash tender.
  4. Bake for 35-40 minutes till tender. Take out of the oven.
  5. Ali the squash over careful and use a fork to scrap so you get beautiful strands of spaghetti squash. Be careful it is very hot!
  6. Heat a pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add in your minced turkey and onions. Keep stirring to break up the turkey.
  7. After 1-2 minutes, add in your garlic. Mix it through and allow to cook for another 1-2 minutes.
  8. When your turkey has just turned brown, add in your chicken broth, soy sauce, honey, tomato paste.
  9. When the stock starts boiling, turn it down to a simmer. Simmer till thicker and reduced (10 minutes).
  10. Add your slurry mixture. Allow the cornstarch to mix and cook through for another 1-2 minutes. Take off heat and serve!

HOW TO SERVE:

Traditional Method: Traditionally she would always add in ketchup for extra sweetness. I know it sounds blasphemous because it is totally not acceptable in Italian cuisine but it was what she had on hand. She also always always used minced pork. Sometimes traditional bolognese will use beef, however beef is not used in Chinese cooking as much as chicken and pork simply because in the past ox/ cows is a symbol of hard work in Chinese culture. They were important to farming therefore seen as a tool and not for consumption As a result of this, my grandparents are not accustomed to eating a lot of beef, thus it is rarely found at their dinner table.

Also, you’re probably wondering – NO CHEESE? yup. In the Asian culture, cheese is rarely used. Most of my relatives from rural china have never heard of or tasted cheese before.

Our Suggestions: My grandmother would never imagine using spaghetti squash as noodles, but here it still works perfectly as a low-carb option. Also ketchup is quite processed and usually has quite a lot of preservatives and added sugar – so we opted for tomato paste with the addition of honey. We also went for ground turkey because it is healthier than pork.

NOTES:

Tomato Paste Substitute: You can use ketchup instead of tomato paste and honey

Turkey: Feel free to use minced pork or chicken instead

Paleo: Use Coconut aminos instead of Soy Sauce.

(This Post is Featured On: Think Tank ThursdaysCreate It ThursdaysTurn It Up TuesdaysThursday Favorite ThingsTOLWow Me WednesdayTraffic Jam WeekendsFull Plate ThursdaysThe Shine Blog HopCraft Frenzy FridayNo Rules WeekendFlaunt It Fridays, Weekend Potluck Gluten Free FridaysPretty Pietistic PartyThe Ultimate Pinterest PartyFamily Fun Fridays, Friday’s Five FeaturesFoodie FridayFriday FavoritesLet’s Get RealI’m Lovin’ ItSaturday SharefestFoodie Friday & Everything ElseDare To ShareOur Mini Linky PartyMelt in Your Mouth Monday)

LOVE,

Zoe & Mia

Advertisements

19 Comments Add yours

  1. Interesting family history. It looks yummy, too!

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thank you! This dish just brings us so many memories, hope you enjoy it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this! A perfect twist to an an italian classic and made even better by your personal connections to it! Thanks so much for sharing your story with us on #shinebloghop this week

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thanks Maria!!! I’m sure my grandmother would have appreciated it 🙂

      Like

  3. This looks delicious and I can’t wait to try it!! I love your story, you’re very good with words.

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thank you so much!! That’s so sweet of you! I’m really trying to improve my writing so that means a lot!!! Hope you like this simple recipe 🙂

      Like

  4. Nicole says:

    This is an awesome idea. I’m doing the low-carb thing right now and I miss pasta. I’ll have to see if the grocery store has a squash next time I’m there and try this recipe!

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thanks Nicole! I totally know how you feel! At first it was so hard to give up my breads and pasta, but honestly there just was a whole world of alternatives I’ve never tried. I don’t think I can turn back now! Spaghetti squash is delicious! I think they sell them in bulk in Costco! Let us know how it turns out! 🙂

      Like

  5. Miz Helen says:

    What a beautiful presentation for your Grandmothers special Bolognese, it looks fantastic! Thanks so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday this week. Hope you are having a great day and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thank you Miz Helen for stopping by! We will definitely do that! Have a great week too!!

      Like

  6. thehomesteadinghippy says:

    I love spaghetti squash! Thanks for sharing your post at lets get real…it’s a sure winner~!

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thank You! 🙂 Spaghetti Squash with this bolognese is really quite fantastic! Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  7. Marsha Baker says:

    What a lovely dish…and such a beautiful post about your beloved grandmother too. We are so happy you shared with us at Weekend Potluck. Please come back again soon.

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thanks Marsha!!!! Thank you for hosting weekend potluck!

      Like

  8. Sandra says:

    It was made with love and that is all the authenticity it needs! 🙂

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Thanks Sandra! What a sweet comment! 🙂 Every time we make it we think of our grandmother! I hope anyone who makes this think of their loved ones too!

      Like

  9. Sandra says:

    I made this today and I can definitely see why the dish itself along with the wonderful memories of your grandmother making it for you,would earn the tittle of delicious comfort food! I plan on making this for my new grandson who is almost 10 months and has 8 shiny new teeth 🙂 My daughter in law is having a hard time introducing meat into his diet and I think that this delicious spaghetti put through the baby food grinder would be his new favorite dish!
    Please don’t ever feel that you have to apologize for something not being authentic. It seems as if people have become food facists and that is so disheartening considering that food is meant to bring people together and create wonderful memories not tear us apart. So often,I wonder whatever happened to live and let live?

    Like

    1. zoelaucy says:

      Wow thanks Sandra! Thats awesome! I’m so glad you made this and enjoyed it! I am even more happy that you are sharing this with your family. This dish is really about love, comfort and memories! Thank you for taking the time for giving feedback and commenting!
      And what a powerful statement – yes food is meant to bring family and people together! I will definitely remember that! I hope your grandson enjoys this! Being a grandchild myself, I know how much he will love your cooking and the attention you shower him with!

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s