Corned mutton is canned meat that’s cherished in many parts of the world. It’s shelf-stable, reliable, and quite tasty. It gained popularity in the last century, especially in troubled times, like wars and economic downturns, where fresh food wasn’t that easy to find.
Canned goods were an authentic revolution in the early 20th-century, and although we might still enjoy some canned foods. Now that tradition is being forgotten.
The thing with canned foods is that they’re not always of the best quality, but that’s not the case with corned mutton; it’s a real delicatessen — a meaty, fatty and salty product with incredible versatility.
Now, hear me out. Most corned mutton recipes are Asian and Indian inspired, and that’s not at all bad, but I thought we could take corned mutton out of its comfort zone and cook something entirely new. A corned mutton ragú pasta. Isn’t that exciting? It is for me, anyway.
Before we check out the recipe, let’s start with the basics. What is corned meat anyway?
Corning meat is a process that preserves meat almost indefinitely and protects it from spoilage and bacterial contamination. Producers will add relatively large grains of rock salt (corns) to cure the meat.
You only need to open the can and slice, dice, or ground the meat. Although most people cook with it, you could just spread it in a sandwich right from the can. Today, though, we’re taking it to another level.
Since we’re going all-out Italian, we’ll use olive oil, garlic, chili pepper flakes, tomatoes, basil leaves, Italian cooking herbs and, of course, pasta.
You’ll also need Parmesan cheese, and if you can, get the good stuff, not the one that comes in the green bottles. It makes a big difference!
There’s one more ingredient besides the corned mutton that I would like you to try, and that’s bell peppers. You wouldn’t usually cook a Bolognese-style pasta with bell peppers, but somehow, the snappy, vegetal peppers pair nicely with the canned meat and give the whole dish a more rustic feel. That alone is worth trying. Here’s the recipe. Enjoy and let me know how that goes!
Peel and chop the onion in small dices. Mince the garlic, slice the bell pepper in julienne, cut the corned mutton into dices. Reserve.
In a pot, boil water, the salt dissolved. Once boiling, add the pasta.
Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and add the onion and garlic until translucent. Add in the bell pepper and cook for two minutes.
Add the corned mutton and incorporate. Once browned, add the canned tomatoes and stir. Add the Italian seasonings and the chili pepper flakes, stir and let it simmer.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot, cover it with the mutton-tomato sauce, the remaining olive oil and combine.
Serve the pasta, grate parmesan cheese on top and garnish with coarsely chopped basil leaves.