spaghetti isgouhi

bob grew up with American spaghetti and meatballs, including experience with the stuff that came in a can. When he first arrived in Italy for his year-long visit as a twenty-something young man, he started in with his customary practice of cutting real spaghetti with a knife and fork to more easily shovel it in, but this was immediately corrected. [Thanks, remo!] This is simply not allowed over there. Returning stateside after a year of intensive indoctrination and a cooling off period in Munich, spaghetti eventually became "pasta" and bob grew up to become a pasta snob.

So when he first came face to face with Isgouhi's version of spaghetti with meat sauce (they call it macaroni in the Middle East) and bright green dried mint to sprinkle over it, he was justifiably skeptical. First it sort of looked like spaghetti from a can and second—cheese isn't green! (Except on the moon, perhaps.) How could they get the cheese mixed up with green glitter? (bob's unspoken reaction.) Well, not having voiced his reservations beforehand, bob didn't have to eat crow over this one when it turned out pretty darn good.

This is another regular meal bob always looks forward to at Chez Isgouhi. Eventually they stopped calling it macaroni at least.


1 lb spaghetti, broken in half to shorten length of noodles
1 lb ground beef (or lamb)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 t salt
1/2 t black pepper
1 t Middle Eastern spice mix (just use allspice)
1 t Middle Eastern red pepper (3 parts paprika to 1 part cayenne)
1 6oz can tomato paste
1–1 1/2 (tomato paste) cans water
1 heaping T red pepper paste
optional 1/2 t oregano
dried mint to sprinkle over each serving


  1. Prepare the spaghetti al dente, breaking it in half before tossing into the boiling salted water.
  2. Meanwhile brown the meat in a large nonstick pan (that will accommodate the pasta later).
  3. Add the onion and sauté until softened.
  4. Add the spices and tomato and red pepper pastes and water, stir it up.
  5. Cook a few minutes.
  6. Drain the pasta and combine with the sauce.
  7. Serve with dried mint sprinkled over each serving in place of the usual parmesan cheese.


  1. Isgouhi. An unusual Armenian female name (to bob, not to Armenians). And bob's mother-in-law and direct pipeline into the motherload of Middle Eastern cuisine with an Armenian twist.
  2. Illustration.
spgisghi.htm: 23-oct-2003 [what, ME cook? © 1984 dr bob enterprises]