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Rigatoni with Beef & Eggplant Ragu
EatingWell Test Kitchen
“Eggplant gives this pasta sauce a rich meatiness that complements the ground beef. Plus the eggplant allows us to use a little less beef but still have a generous and hearty serving.”
8 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni, rotini or penne
8 ounces 92%-lean ground beef
4 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon fennel seed
3 cups diced eggplant, (about ½ medium)
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 8-ounce cans no-salt-added tomato sauce
1 cup red wine
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (see Tip)
½ cup crumbled feta, (optional)
1Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
2Meanwhile, cook beef, garlic and fennel seeds in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat until the beef is browned, about 3 minutes. Add eggplant and oil; cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant browns, about 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and wine; cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Stir in oregano, salt and pepper.
3Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts and feta, if using.
Make Ahead Tip: Prepare the sauce (Step 2); cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.
Tip: To toast pine nuts, cook in a small dry skillet over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 2 to 4 minutes.