Rigatoni with Beef & Eggplant Ragu

April/May 2006

Your rating: None Average: 3.7 (50 votes)

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.

"This is a good recipe. I didn't add the wine and I brined the eggplant for a half hour and simmered it along with all the rest of the ingredients for a good hour. I'm not sure what the pine nuts add... "
Rigatoni with Beef & Eggplant Ragu

Makes: 4 servings

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Total Time:


  • 8 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni, rotini or penne
  • 8 ounces 92%-lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 3 cups diced eggplant, (about 1/2 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
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (see Tip)
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta, (optional)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta until tender, 8 to 10 minutes or according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile, 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.
  3. Drain the pasta; serve topped with the sauce and sprinkled with pine nuts and feta, if using.

Tips & Notes

  • 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.


Per serving: 399 calories; 7 g fat (1 g sat, 3 g mono); 30 mg cholesterol; 57 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 22 g protein; 11 g fiber; 345 mg sodium; 788 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (30% daily value), Zinc (26% dv), Vitamin A (25% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Iron (20% dv)

Carbohydrate Servings: 3

Exchanges: 3 starch, 2 vegetable, 2 very lean meat, 1 fat

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Ease of Preparation
Total Time
45 minutes or less
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April/May 2006
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