Chorizo Ragu and ‘You’re Still the Best’

We had a magical visitor in the night.

Of the fairy kind.

At school Alfie pulled out a wobbly tooth and when I went to collect him he ran to me, lisping the news.  ‘Mum, my tooth came out.  I pulled it out.  It was wobbling so much I just pulled it and out it came’.  And he knelt down and from a pocket in his bag he carefully took out a scrunched up tissue and ever so gently he unraveled it and there was the tiny but precious, gleaming little tooth.  The sixth one he’s lost so far.

Last night he lovingly placed the tooth in the tiny pewter container beside his bed hoping for a special visit from the Tooth Fairy.

A precious container for precious teeth

Oh but it wasn’t like that.

I wish it was.

The trouble is, by the time the child gets to the stage where their teeth are falling out, they’re too old and too cool to believe in tooth fairies building enamel castles in the sky.

Alfie is on to it.  ‘There’s no tooth fairy is there mum.  Are you going to tell me the truth?  There’s only you.  You’re the tooth fairy’.

‘Mothers don’t have time to be fairies Alfie, they’re far too busy for that’.

‘Where do you put all my teeth?  Can you show them to me?’

‘I’d have to ask the fairy what she’s done with them’.

‘Mum, can you give me more than a two dollar?  All my friends get five dollars’.

‘You know how much the Tooth Fairy gave me when I was a little girl?  And I had beautiful strong white teeth that were good quality and made excellent fairy castles.’

‘Will you give me a five dollar, mum?’

‘That’s an awful lot of change for a tooth fairy to carry, Alfie’.

‘It could be a five dollar note.  It doesn’t have to be coins.’

‘Well back in my day I got twenty cents.  And I was grateful and happy.’

So when Alfie went to bed he put his tooth in the pewter container beside his bed and he said to me, ‘Mum, I’d really like a five dollar.  And mum, you’re still the best’.

There was no need for fairy magic.  Alfie had weaved enough of his own and he woke up to five dollars.

So the fairies didn’t arrive but the latest Delicious magazine did.  Here is a recipe from the Tuesday Night Cooking segment that is dedicated to fast, tasty and economical meals that are family friendly.

Chorizo Ragu with Spaghetti

Chorizo Ragu

Serves:  4-6

Degree of Difficulty:  2/5

Cost:  All of these ingredients are readily available and are therefore not expensive items.

  • 3 chorizo sausages, casings removes
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tbs chopped thyme leaves
  • 250g lean mince
  • 2 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  • 150ml red wine
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 2 tbs chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 500g dried spaghetti (I used organic spelt)
  • Grated parmesan and toasted pine nuts to serve

A great mid-week pasta

Roughly chop the chorizo meat and place in a food processor, then whiz until coarsely ground.

Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, add the chorizo mince and cook, stirring for 6-8 minutes until browned.  Remove the meat with a slotted spoon and set aside, leaving the fat in the pan.

Add the onion, garlic and thyme with some salt and pepper and cook, stirring, over low heat for 5 minutes or until soft and lightly golden.  Add the beef mince and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until browned.

Return chorizo meat to the pan and stir in the tomatoes, wine and tomato paste.  Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 40 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.  Adjust seasoning to taste, then stir in parsley and keep warm.

Meanwhile, cook the pasta in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water according to packet instructions or until al dente.  Drain.

To serve, divide the spaghetti among serving bowls and top with the ragu.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and top with the pine nuts.

This recipe is from the August issue of Delicious Magazine.

And this has been my 200th post!

Want to keep in touch?  Join the fun on the Hotly Spiced Facebook page! 



Related Post


  1. Amy @ Elephant Eats says:

    This recipe sounds great! I’m glad it’s economical, seeing as how the tooth fairy business is breaking the bank 😉 I used to get a quarter when I lost a tooth and I was more than happy…but then I suppose times are different now, hehe.

  2. OrgasmicChef says:

    What a cute story! 6 teeth gone? I hope you cooked the pasta past al dente 🙂

    I love toasted pine nuts on anything. Serve me wilted grass with pine nuts and I’d happily eat it.

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots says:

    That tooth depository is absolutely precious, I agree. Is there a story to that?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hi Audrey, no, not much of a story. Some friends of ours gave Arabella one for her Christening but Archie (being Archie) accidently dropped it and one of its ears fell off so years later when Alfie was born I wanted him to have one so was able to find one in a shop we have here called Peters of Kensington. It wasn’t very expensive but I just really liked it and Alfie loves it. It fits our $2.00 and $1.00 coins nicely! xx

  4. My miss 5 has been asking questions about the tooth fairy too. They do cotton on eventually, but I love how they still want to play along.

  5. niasunset says:

    Wonderful post again… I loved this tooth story, and your photographs too… made me hungry! Thank you dear Charlie, have a nice day, love, nia

  6. How adorable; Alfie is such a cute kid. I can’t remember what we got
    when we were young, but it’s likely similar to your 25¢! I was visiting
    my brother’s kids last year and my nephew Jack had a loose tooth. Being
    the proper, good Aunt that I am, I said to him. “Jack, do you know what
    the going rate for the tooth fairy is?” He said “$5.00.” I said “No,
    it’s a $100, Jack.” You should have seen the look on his mother’s face:

    This ragu recipe looks wonderful and perfect for a winter’s meal. At
    7:30 this morning it was 28.5°C and they are predicting 34°C today but
    likely will exceed that with high humidity. Still not complaining, but I
    am ever so grateful for A/C.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That is very funny Eva. I can just imagine his mother would have died. And I bet Jack is so looking forward to all his money – he’ll be able to put himself through college! xx

  7. Wow, 6 teeth gone! I can’t get my son to lose any of his, he’s 7. We lost one so far and he is still cute enough to believe in the Tooth Fairy, but he lost his tooth in the dirt so there was no tooth, I had him write a note to the fairy. It was so cute. I hope you had a chance to be somewhat of a Tooth Fairy to Alfie for the first few teeth at least. Pasta looks great.

  8. I wish a fairy would leave me a bowl of that spaghetti …

  9. A_Boleyn says:

    Cute Alfie … the tooth fairy didn’t come to little kids in Yugoslavia when I was growing up. I feel so deprived. 🙂

    Sounds like a nice spicy meat sauce for the pasta. I’ve recently learned that there are 2 basic kinds of chorizo sausage (there are probably more), the ready to eat smoked/dried long Spanish version and the fresh link Mexican version that I’m guessing you used. I can only get the former unfortunately but could probably find a decent enough recipe to make a batch of the latter for a tasty dish like this.

    I used the smoked Spanish chorizo I had recently for the kale soup I made.

  10. Green Dragonette says:

    Hi Charlie,

    Lovely story! The Tooth Fairy is much richer these days… I
    think I only got a measly sixpence per tooth!

  11. Awww Alfie does have a headful of magic my friend – much better than the tooth fairy 😀
    And I am digging your spaghetti dish – he is such a lucky guy 🙂

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. This is seriously similar to one in Jamie Oliver’s 30 minute meals and I can attest to the fact that it was delicious. I especially like the addition of those pine nuts.

  13. I only use to get 50c from the tooth fairy. Just stopped by orgasmic chef. Brilliant write up about yourself.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Lizzie. Maureen is a very generous writer. She interviews and writes very well. I totally love her Food Writer Friday write-ups and was very honoured to be a part of her series. xx

  14. yummychunklet says:

    Great post! Cute!

  15. Haha, I only used to get 50p… we put our teeth under our pillows though… I wonder now what did happen to the teeth. Tossed in the trash maybe?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I’ve kept all the teeth in a little container. I don’t know why I’ve kept them but they’re all there. I put my teeth under my pillow as well. How the tooth fairy found the tiny thing is beyond me! xx

  16. Such a sweet post! Love the pasta. Looks so yum!

  17. SarahKate (Mi Casa-Su Casa) says:

    I love the idea of chorizo and pinenuts together in one bowl. Two of my favourite things in the world! I remember being a little freaked out by the idea of the Tooth Fairy when I was a kid. Like, what’s she DOING with all my teeth?? But I did get $1 for each one, so I was happy!

  18. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Of course he woke up to five. Magic. That child is pure magic. Very cute post with a nice looking recipe!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Victoria. And you’d know all about little boys and their magic seeing you have one yourself! xx

  19. I can’t believe that’s the going rate for a tooth. Maybe I should start ripping mine out I’m sure I could spare one or two at the back.

    Chorizo ragu sounds fabulous!

  20. He’s a smooth operator, that one.. 🙂

  21. I don’t remember ever getting that much money from the tooth fairy:) Your dish looks delicious… the chroizo would give it so much flavour.

  22. I used to get fifty cents from the tooth fairy, it is amazing how much the kids get now, LOL! Your spaghetti sounds fantastic, I love love chorizo:-) Perfect comfort food! Hugs, Terra

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I know. The only other thing that has gone up as much as tooth fairy money is what you pay for a babysitter. I used to get $1.00/hr and today, they sky’s the limit xx

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Hmmm, trying to comment on your blog and it won’t let me. I’m only getting spinning wheels. Love your pizza and those sauce jars and all the sauce you made and how you smoked the chicken legs xx

  23. The Café Sucré Farine says:

    Such a sweet story. My kids stopped believing in the tooth fairy too but when they lost their teeth I would sprinkle a little glitter on their pillow cases along with a prize ($) underneath it. When they woke up in the morning they would see that shiny glitter along with more money than they knew their parents would part with and they would wonder all over again……… 🙂
    Love your recipe and I’m quite smitten with delicious magazine!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I love how you would sprinkle their pillows with glitter. How excited they must have been when they woke up. Love how you kept the dream alive! xx

  24. I couldn’t stop laughing when Alfie kept asking for 5 dollars and how he doesn’t believe in the fairies LOL my mother was so asian she didn’t even know a tooth fair existed…but my sister was the best and she use to put 50 cents underneath my pillow hehe

    Oh oh oh do you mean the August edition is out? OMG i can’t wait! Cuz i get that mailed home 😀

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That is so sweet of your sister to be the tooth fairy for you. And yes, the August issue is out now. It has some great recipes in it. I’m loving it xx

  25. cityhippyfarmgirl says:

    $5?!… shhhh, don’t tell Monkey Boy.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      How old is monkey boy and how many teeth has he lost? Alfie has quite a few loose ones at the moment. The tooth fairy might have to cut back on the generosity if they all fall out at once! xx

  26. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    Congratulations on your 200th post tooth fairy and may there be many more posts!! 😉

  27. Jed Gray (sportsglutton) says:

    OMG Charlie. Why have I not combined the brilliance of chorizo with a ragu and spaghetti?? This is my kind of dish!

  28. $5?! I think there has been an exponential increase in tooth fairy costs. I got about 50c I think, and I was grateful too!
    I’m glad you had a Delicious magazine to help balance out the exuberant fairy costs – and congratulations, many, many congratulations, on your 200th post! What a wonderful achievement.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Thanks Kari. It’s come around amazingly quickly. And if you can get yourself a copy of this month’s Delicious you’ll love it – great vegetarian segment xx

  29. ChgoJohn says:

    Oh, Charlie! Alfie has your number, all right. “You’re still the best.” Watch out for this one.
    I love a sauce that has sausage for its base, though I’ve never tried chorizo. It sounds delicious and I certainly have the pasta. 🙂

    • hotlyspiced says:

      I’d never tried chorizo done like this before either. I usually make a sausage pasta with Italian pork and fennel sausages. But this is worth a try because the flavour was delicious xx

  30. GourmetGetaway says:

    Lol! I used to only get 20c too!! $5.00 wow that’s a bit steep :0
    This tooth fairy gets tired of a night and sometimes my kids need to write a reminder letter to the tooth fairy for the next night! OOPS!

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Yes, we’ve had those times when the tooth fairy has forgotten. Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and realise I’ve forgotten and I bolt out of bed and scratch around for a few coins and do the thing and then I’m back to bed. xx

  31. Juliet Batten says:

    That’s a big demand for a tooth fairy. I would have thought $1 would be max.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      The trouble is, when he gets his money from the tooth fairy, I have to take him shopping. And seeing him not be able to buy a thing for a dollar is agony. So this ‘five dollar’ will see us at least be able to make some sort of a purchase from one of those $2.00 shops xx

  32. This is a lovely twist for pasta – must give it a go. Those tooth fairies must have had a pay rise!

  33. Jo Baby says:

    It must be the time of year for it. When Alfie proudly announced to his Year 2 class yesterday that he’d had a visit from the tooth fairy, 3 other hands shot up. I told them I now have a classroom full of ‘toothless terrors’. One of the children told us that he decided to write a bunch of tricky questions to the tooth fairy. After much discussion, the class decided that the tooth fairy was probably real because he received a reply and most of his questions were adequately answered.
    I always ask the kids if they’re going to put the tooth fairy $$ towards a new house/car/bag/shoes/Tiffany jewellery for their good old teacher. When they say ‘yes’ (as they all did yesterday) – I tell them they’re my best buddy! I have a room full of best buddy toothless terrors at the moment.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      He told me you had lots of question time about the tooth fairy yesterday. Just let me know if you’d like his ‘five dollar’ put towards the house, car or jewellery. xx

  34. Sweet Posy Dreams says:

    Sounds like little Alfie knows how to work his mum. Funny.

    Your blog keeps disappearing from my blog feed. Arrrgh. I hate to miss your posts!

  35. I love how he was not swayed by your answers — he had already made up his mind and was staying on point — he’s a pistol, that one.
    I like the idea of the pine nuts as a garnish for the sauce–brilliant–I just bought a large bag from Costco and this will go on the list of ideas for its uses!

  36. bestfoodies says:

    Five dollars seems to be the going rate according to the little ones I am with too…WOW is all I can say. One of the favorite keepsakes I have from my kids is a note my son wrote the tooth fairy (she was kind enough to let me have a copy) that reads “Dear Tooth Fairy, I lost my tooth in the grass, can you please leave my dollar” ….too cute !

  37. 200 posts! That’s great, Charlie! I don’t know how you do it with so many family happenings…many of which are time consuming and quite dramatic! 🙂 I wouldn’t be able to resist the imploring of that adorable little guy! I’m glad he got his “fairy” wish…and my son-in-law would be thrilled if I made this chorizo ragu! I must make it soon!

  38. InTolerantChef says:

    What about Santa Claus Charlie? Don’t try and tell me there isn’t a Santa Claus? I really think you need to post a spoiler alert if you plan on shattering dreams 🙁
    I got20 cents as well, and it was exciting! My daughter did get $20 once, but it was for her first tooth that was snapped in half at the playground then the rest was forcibly removed in hospital under general anaesthetic. I guess the fairy decided she needed to do something special for that one, but I wish she had left the four grand it would end up costing in braces under my pillow instead :'(

  39. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    Oh they wise up so quickly now days!
    Lovely pasta.
    🙂 Mandy

  40. justonecookbook says:

    OMG!!!!! I have this exact same container!!!! Until I saw it, I didn’t realize it was for tooth. No wonder the rabbit got the bandage around the jaw. We don’t have the tooth fairly custom in Japan, so it didn’t click until now. You can now laugh – I was putting my earrings… LOL!!! It was souvenir from someone I don’t remember – from somewhere…I left it in my room in Japan. I will totally get this and bring it back to the US and give it to my kids who haven’t had loosen teeth yet.

    Congrats on 200th post, and your chorizo ragu spaghetti sounds delicious!

  41. Oh they are soooo on to us arent they. I love that he negotiated a higher deal – my kind of kids 😉 By the way is 12pm good for next Friday? you name the place and I will be there. i did email you back but I am not sure if it went through – stupid computers! xx

  42. Bargaining with the tooth fairy … Love it 🙂

Speak Your Mind