“Big-eyed beef”

Posted: January 1, 2012 in Comfort, Egg, Food
Tags: ,

As in most of the western countries, especially those with some Italian or Latin heritage, a spaghetti Bolognese is a quick and easy dinner which can be prepared when you’re either tired or out of other options. Spaghetti is common staple in most pantries, and some ground meat-based sauce is also quite easy to cook.

One thing which I don’t know how common is, but was a nice touch in such dinners that we had in my house growing up was to add a sunny-side up egg on top of the spaghetti. We called it the “bife do oião”, (loosely translated as “big-eyed beef”, due to the yolk “eye”), and to this day when I’m not too tired or lazy to clean up afterwards, whenever we’re having some Bolognese (or some variation, like the one shown in the picture below), I’ll have my plate with an egg on top.


The recipe for this picture wasn’t really a traditional Bolognese sauce; instead it based on a lighter ground turkey and red wine (something a little healthier that which my kids happen to love). The yolk should still be running, and it gives a nice complement to the sauce (which isn’t as creamy as other ones).


  • 1 package (1.25 lb.) ground turkey
  • 1 cup dry red wine (that’s usually what’s left off a bottle which we opened a couple of days before and didn’t finish)
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 pack spaghetti
  • 1 egg per person
  • grated parmesan cheese

This serves quite well about 8 people, so feel free to reduce the quantities if you don’t want leftovers. I always prepare the whole pack of the meat, and refrigerate what I don’t use for later, and only prepare the pasta for the number of people in the table.

In a medium non-stick pan add the ground turkey and the wine, mixing them before turning on the heat, to break any lumps. Add salt and pepper, and then enough water to almost cover the meat. Cook over medium heat, stirring often (remember that no oil or butter was used, I mentioned this was a light sauce) to prevent burning on the bottom. When the liquid starts boiling, reduce the heat and cook for about 20-30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, until the turkey is done. Try the meat and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.

Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, and when it’s done, drain it and return it to the pan; add the ground turkey sauce over it, and mix to bind.

When it’s time to serve, cook a sunny-side up egg in a small frying pan, and lay it over the spaghetti. Top with grated parmesan cheese and enjoy!


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