Whole-Wheat Fusilli with Beef Ragu

Whole-Wheat Fusilli with Beef Ragu

2 Reviews
From: EatingWell Magazine, Spring 2004

This chunky, full-bodied sauce is a good match for hearty whole-wheat pasta. We've augmented a little lean ground beef with mushrooms to get a rich, meaty sauce that has a minimum of saturated fat.

Ingredients 6 servings

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  • 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • 6 ounces cremini, or baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped (2 cups)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, (not drained)
  • ½ cup dry red wine
  • 1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
  • Large pinch of crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat fusilli, or rotini
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, (optional)
  • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, (optional)


  • Active

  • Ready In

  1. Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a strainer or colander and drain off fat.
  2. Heat oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and mash with a potato masher. Add wine, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, salt and the meat; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have developed, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Pass Parmesan separately, if using.
  • Make Ahead Tip: Prepare through step 3. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • If you're only serving 2 or 3 people, toss half the sauce with 6 ounces cooked pasta; freeze the remaining sauce. If you're serving more than 6 or are just feeling industrious, you can easily double the sauce recipe
  • Pasta cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta, and whole-wheat choices are lower than white.

Nutrition information

  • Serving size: about 1⅓ cups
  • Per serving: 306 calories; 3 g fat(1 g sat); 8 g fiber; 52 g carbohydrates; 15 g protein; 18 mcg folate; 23 mg cholesterol; 6 g sugars; 0 g added sugars; 3,754 IU vitamin A; 19 mg vitamin C; 47 mg calcium; 2 mg iron; 165 mg sodium; 586 mg potassium
  • Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (75% daily value), Vitamin C (32% dv)
  • Carbohydrate Servings:
  • Exchanges: 3 starch, 1 vegetable, 1 lean protein

Reviews 2

February 11, 2010
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By: EatingWell User
I rated this recipe "great" because it is a tasty, basic recipe that I can vary each time that I make it by changing the type and the amount of meat, the spices, the vegetables, etc. I added more vegetables. If I do that again, I would add more tomato to get more sauce. I liked the taste of fennel so I didn't find it too strong. Oregano would be a good substitute.
January 31, 2010
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By: arcendis
This dish was average. It lacked flavor. Perhaps it would be better with italian sausage instead of beef? Anyhow, I'm going to try something else. Also, the fennel was a bit much. I only used 1 tsp and it was a bit overpowering.
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