Traditionally, a ragu is a slow cooked meat heavy sauce; the meat is cooked for several hours until it falls off the bone and the sauce is thick. However, a rapid variation is simple to make in under 30 minutes. Ground lamb cooks quickly and is effortlessly flavored with fennel seed, oregano, and red wine. A ribbed pasta like rigatoni or penne is a great choice as the hearty sauce has something to cling to. Pine nuts and crumbled feta top off this wonderfully comforting end of the week dinner. Plus, you can drink the same wine that you used to make the dish! To check out the recipe,
4 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni or penne
4 ounces ground lamb or lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed
1 1/2 cups diced eggplant
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup crumbled feta (optional)
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cook lamb (or beef), garlic and fennel seed in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, until the lamb (or beef) is browned, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Add eggplant and oil; cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant browns, about 4 minutes.
- Add tomato sauce and wine; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in oregano, salt and pepper.
- Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts and feta, if using.
NUTRITION INFORMATION: Per serving: 422 calories; 10 g fat (3 g sat, 4 g mono); 37 mg cholesterol; 57 g carbohydrate; 20 g protein; 10 g fiber; 343 mg sodium; 795 mg potassium. Vitamin C (30% daily value), Vitamin A (25% dv), Magnesium (24% dv), Potassium (23% dv).