I have a cockroach of a cold - it just can't be vanquished. It's like the horror movie killer that roars back to life every time you think that you can relax, that he's finally gone. I woke up Friday to find my throat under siege, and even though I managed to be productive, by dinner time, I was completely wiped out. I almost succumbed to takeout but after December's convenience-food spree, we're trying to cut back. I definitely needed comfort food, and after rifling through my pantry, one option jumped to the fore: American chop suey.
Chop suey is a comfort food for me because I ate it a lot growing up. I used to have dinner at my grandparents' house once a week, if not more, and chop suey is one of my grandmother's classics. Luckily it is simple and requires few ingredients, so even in my exhausted state, I was able to throw this together. Eaten on the futon, next to my hubby, while watching mindless TV, it was the perfect ending to a long and tiring week.
***This recipe is an approximation, thrown together with what I have, but the result tasted exactly like Grammy's. I'm not sure, but she might use some tomato paste as well - Mom, if you're reading, can you weigh in in the comments and let me know if I'm missing anything?
Grammy's Chop Suey
1 lb ground beef or turkey
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped (I used three or four shallots)
3-4 cloves garlic, chopped
28 oz can whole tomatoes
2 teaspoons Italian herb blend
pinch of sugar
4 cups cooked macaroni (about 2 cups dry)
salt and pepper, to taste
Add olive oil to saute pan and warm over medium heat. Cook onions and garlic 3-5 minutes. Add ground beef, crumble, and stir occasionally until meat is cook through and onions are translucent. Add tomatoes, herbs, and sugar. Add up to half a can of water if necessary - it depends on how much juice was in the can with the tomatoes. You don't want the mixture to be dry but you don't want soup, either. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 20 minutes. This is a good time to cook your macaroni if you haven't already. When tomatoes are good and cooked, stir in cooked macaroni and season to taste. Top with grated parmesan or asiago if desired. Serves 4.