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Lamb & Eggplant Ragu
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Lamb and eggplant are combined in dishes throughout the Mediterranean. Together they deliver a complex, hearty, earthy flavor that's truly satisfying. In this dish, toasted pine nuts and tangy feta cheese are excellent accents.”
8 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni, rotini or penne
4 ounces ground lamb or lean ground beef
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ teaspoon fennel seed
1½ cups diced eggplant
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 8-ounce can no-salt-added tomato sauce
½ cup red wine
1½ teaspoons chopped fresh oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon pine nuts, toasted (see Tip)
¼ cup crumbled feta, (optional)
1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
2Meanwhile, 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.
3Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts and feta, if using.
Tip: To toast pine nuts: Cook in a dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.