Sporki Macaroni - Croatian Dirty Pasta

You know it is rare I make something myself and think Jesus that was so damn good. I am not a big fan of my own cooking, I don't why but I am never able to appreciate the food I make myself. This past weekend though stumbling through Rick Stein's Venice to Istanbul book I came across this absolutely class recipe for something called Sporki. It was a match made in heaven, the sauce is like some sort of casserole stew coupled with pasta. Sporki roughly translates as "Dirty" in Croatian, damn those Croatians know good food if it is all like this. The recipe is below, I highly recommend Rick Steins Venice to Istanbul book, in fact all his books, they are generally chock full with great interesting recipes. 

Makes 4 servings


15ml Olive oil
200g Lean beef, cut in to small enough cubes ( I used beef medallions )
3 Red onions, roughly chopped
3 Carrots, sliced
1 Bay leaf
Salt & Pepper
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 Tbsp tomato puree
2 Cloves garlic, finely chopped
150ml Chicken stock ( I used a simple ol Oxo cube)
150ml Decent red wine ( I used a Ripassa, as I was drinking that Saturday night)
400g Penne


  1. Heat a large pot and add half the olive oil. Cook the meat on a medium heat until all browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  2. Turn up the heat to medium high, sweat the onions and carrots for 5 mins.
  3. Add in the bay leaf, salt ( a good seasoning here , maybe 1.5 teaspoons), and pepper, stir.
  4. Stir in the tomato puree, chilli flakes, and garlic, and fry for 3 minutes. Add in the chicken stock, browned meat and red wine. Simmer with the lid on for 50 mins, the beef should be tender, but that depends on the meat you bought, mine still had a slight give as it was a roast beef cut of medallion.
  5. 15 minutes before the end of the beef's cooking time, boil the pasta in salted water (always add loads of salt, pasta always tastes better in good salted water). Cook the pasta for about 8-9 minutes just as it is turning "al dente". Drain and add to the meat sauce, stir well and cook on low for 10 minutes. This gives the pasta time to soak up the meat sauce. 
  6. Serve!

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