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.

Mary Ellen Evans
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Spring 2004




Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 Facts

306 calories; protein 15.3g; carbohydrates 52.2g; dietary fiber 7.6g; sugars 5.5g; fat 2.8g; saturated fat 1g; cholesterol 23.4mg; vitamin a iu 3754.3IU; vitamin c 18.7mg; folate 18.1mcg; calcium 47.1mg; iron 1.7mg; magnesium 17.3mg; potassium 585.6mg; sodium 165.1mg; thiamin 0.1mg.

Reviews (2)

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2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 2
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
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. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
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. Read More