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Friday, January 6, 2012

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce

I love reading cook books. I love trying new recipes. When I came across this recipe, written by Devin Alexander (host of Healthy Decadence), I knew I had to try it. At first taste, our family proclaimed it a new favorite. This meat sauce is savory and lick-the-plate delicious (just ask my youngest son...).

I (personally) like that this recipe is so easy to adapt to what ingredients you have on hand. It is
a recipe that relies heavily on "pantry" items - so I can make it without making a special trip to the grocery store. I also enjoy that I can change the dish by adding a few simple ingredients (like
veggies) or by changing the protein (ground turkey is delicious, as is grilled chicken). When I am
trying to work on cooking ahead, or preparing a meal for my freezer, I will double the sauce recipe (as it is wonderful for French Bread pizzas, meatball subs, etc.)

I encourage you to make this dish your own - and enjoy every delicious bite!

Rigatoni with Meat Sauce (serves 4 - big servings - at ~404 calories per serving)
Adapted from Devin Alexander

8 oz dried rigatoni pasta, cooked and drained (I used macaroni this time)
1 pound lean ground beef
1 tsp fennel seeds
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (or to taste)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 cup finely chopped onions
Drizzling of extra virgin olive oil
28 oz crushed tomatoes
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sugar (or to taste)
2 T. grated Parmesan cheese

Drizzle a large pan with olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic. Set aside. Cook the ground beef with the fennel, red pepper flakes, garlic powder and salt. When cooked completely (you should not need to drain), add the onions and garlic and stir to combine. Add crushed tomatoes, oregano, and sugar and stir to combine. Reduce heat and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes (the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will be). Before serving, add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce and stir. Top with 2 T. grated Parmesan cheese.

**Veggies that we like to add are: mushrooms, zucchini, shredded carrots, corn
***Proteins that we like to add are: grilled chicken, cannelloni or black beans, and ground turkey

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