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    Whole-Wheat Fusilli With Beef Ragu

    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

    • 8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef
    • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 2 medium chopped carrots
    • 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 tomatoes, diced, not drained
    • 1/2 cup dry red wine
    • 1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed
    • 1 large pinch crushed red pepper
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste
    • 12 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or rotini
    • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
    • 6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

    Instructions

    Step 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.
    Step 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.
    Step 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.
    Step 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.

    Tips

    1. 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.
    2. Pasta cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta, and whole-wheat choices are lower than white.

    To Make Ahead: Prepare through Step 3. Cover and refrigerate the sauce for up to 2 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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