Spaghetti with hot Italian beef and tangy marinara sauce is the signature dish at The Original Beef of Chicagoland in FX’s critically acclaimed show The Bear. The Bear spaghetti recipe catapulted into fame after the show debuted in summer 2022.
In the high-intensity kitchen scenes, Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto struggles to regain control of his family’s Italian beef sandwich shop after his brother’s death. The crew cooks up platter after platter of Carmy’s specialty – al dente spaghetti generously blanketed in paper-thin slices of rosemary-seared beef smothered in a quick yet complex marinara sauce.
This unpretentious dish encapsulates Carmy’s cooking philosophy of highlighting high-quality ingredients by doing as little to them as possible. Keep reading for a breakdown of how to recreate this Italian-American classic at home just like they make on The Bear.
Credit: FX Networks
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The Meaning of Spaghetti on The Bear
Beyond being a crowd-pleasing menu item, the spaghetti on The Bear represents Carmy’s connection to his family roots. The recipe originated with Carmy and his brother Mikey in their grandmother’s kitchen.
For Carmy, spaghetti exemplifies the Italian-American food he grew up with – humble yet comforting, simple yet packed with flavor. Ordering the spaghetti at the beef shop offers patrons a taste of what makes the place special.
Even among all the upscale dishes Carmy learned from his fine dining career, the spaghetti remains a staple. It ties him back to his family and the heritage they infused into their sandwiches.
Now let’s look at how to capture that same bold essence and flavor balance at home.
Lets Dive Into The Bear Spaghetti Recipe
Part of the appeal of this dish lies in its simplicity. With just 7 core ingredients, you likely have everything on hand to cook up this crowd-pleaser any night of the week.
The process comes together quickly in three simple stages – sear the beef, make the sauce, boil the pasta. Then mix everything together for a fast weeknight dinner the whole family will love.
The Bear Spaghetti RecipeCourse: Main DishCuisine: Italian AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Here’s what you’ll need to serve 4 generously:
The Bear’s Spaghetti Ingredients
1 pound dried spaghetti
1 1/2 pounds sliced Italian beef
3 Tbsp olive oil
5 garlic cloves
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
Spices: oregano, basil, red pepper flakes
Instructions for Cooking the Bear’s Signature Spaghetti
- Pat the beef slices dry and season generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
- Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a large skillet over high heat until very hot. Add half the beef slices in a single layer without overcrowding. Sear 30 seconds per side.
- Transfer seared beef to a plate and repeat with the remaining oil and beef slices. Set aside.
- In the same pan, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion. Sauté 1 minute until fragrant.
- Add crushed tomatoes and fill empty can with water to rinse out remaining tomatoes. Add to pan along with spices.
- Simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened to a ragù consistency.
- Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to boil. Add spaghetti and cook 2 minutes shy of package directions for al dente texture. Drain thoroughly and reserve 1 cup pasta water.
- Add the hot cooked pasta and several spoonfuls of pasta water to the pan with the tomato sauce. Toss to coat noodles evenly, adding more water if needed to just coat noodles.
- Remove pan from heat and add beef slices along with any accumulated juices on the plate. Toss gently to evenly distribute beef and sauce without breaking up the slices.
- Serve family-style right out of the pan for the full Italian-American comfort food experience. Enjoy!
- The beauty of this dish is how quickly it comes together while still delivering complex layers of flavor. Now let’s go over some key details to ensure success.
4 servings per container
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 5g 25%
- Cholesterol 60mg 20%
- Sodium 540mg 23%
- Amount Per Serving% Daily Value *
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 4g 16%
- Sugars 5g
- Protein 32g 64%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Tips for Spaghetti Perfection:
- Use high heat and minimal crowding for perfect sear on the beef.
- Simmer the tomato sauce just long enough to meld flavors without overreducing.
- Stir sauce frequently to prevent scorching and add splashes of water as needed.
- Cook pasta very al dente; it will finish cooking and absorb sauce in the pan.
- Add starchy pasta water to help thicken and emulsify the sauce.
- Gently mix beef slices into finished pasta to evenly coat without tearing slices.
- Serve immediately after tossing everything together for optimal texture.
This straightforward yet thoughtful technique yields a bowl of spaghetti that looks and tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen. Let’s talk serving suggestions and add-in ideas next.
Ideas for Serving Bear-Style Spaghetti
This classic dish needs little else besides crusty garlic bread and a leafy green side salad tossed in Italian dressing. That said, a few tweaks can take it to the next level:
- Swap in lamb or veal for a more luxe version of the sliced meat.
- Add sautéed mushrooms or roasted peppers for extra flavor and textures.
- Sprinkle with parmesan for a sharper, nutty contrast to the beef and tomato.
- Toss with basil chiffonade at the end for a hit of freshness.
- Drizzle with infused olive oil like lemon or chili.
- Serve with chopped olives and artichokes for a cool briny counterpoint.
However you choose to complement this Italian-American staple, the combination of al dente pasta, savory slowly cooked sauce, and tender sliced beef is sure to satisfy.
Got leftovers? They make an excellent filling for stuffed shells, manicotti or lasagna the next day. Now let’s look at some common questions.
FAQs About The Bear’s Signature Spaghetti
Before you step into the kitchen to recreate this dish, you probably have some remaining questions. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:
How is the beef sliced so thin?
Using a very sharp knife, freeze the beef slightly to firm it up before slicing paper thin against the grain. Or ask your butcher for shaved steak.
What cut of beef is best?
Top round or eye round work well since they are lean yet tender. Cut across the grain for shorter muscle fibers.
What’s the best way to sear the beef perfectly?
Use very high heat and sear just 30 seconds per side. Avoid overcrowding the pan and let the skillet fully reheat between batches.
Why simmer the sauce briefly?
Just 10-15 minutes blends flavors without reducing too much liquid or overcooking the tomatoes.
How do you keep the pasta from getting sticky?
Boil it al dente and resist overmixing the noodles into the sauce. Add starchy pasta water as needed.
Should you rinse cooked pasta?
Drain thoroughly but don’t rinse. The residual starch on the outside of noodles helps bind to the sauce.
I hope these spaghetti tips help you master this iconic Bear recipe! Let me know if you have any other questions.
Now you have all the knowledge to recreate this Italian-American classic right in your own kitchen. In about 45 minutes, you can have a hearty meal full of flavor, memories, and connection – just like on the show.
The ingredients may seem simple, but the love and intention that Carmy infuses into this special recipe makes it so much more. Savor the subtle complexity and terroir of Italian tomatoes blended with the umami of seared beef and the perfect bite of imported pasta.
For more classic recipes made iconic on TV and in movies, subscribe to my YouTube channel. Recreating favorite dishes from shows makes any meal feel a little more special.
Let me know how your Bear’s spaghetti turns out by tagging me on Facebook @radiantnourishblog. I hope this recipe transports you and helps strengthen traditions of your own.
Now grab a fork and dig into comfort food – The Bear style!