Saturday, August 11, 2012

Original Recipe: Pasta with Beef and Fennel Sauce

Much as I may claim that "laziness is the mother of invention," there are times when I agree that necessity deserves that title. It's certainly true in cooking. This recipe was born out of a moment of panic when I realized that somehow I had run out of spaghetti sauce with meatballs without realizing it--and I'd planned that very thing for dinner (and had no time to start up a big batch).

I did have some sauce without meatballs, though, and some ground beef. So I thought I'd make a baked ziti with meat and cheese...but that's not really what I wanted for dinner. That's when I got busy inventing. The result was a big hit; it has the flavor of Italian sausage without all the grease.

The whole thing cooks in the time it takes to boil a big pot of water and cook pasta, so it's a quick and easy meal.

Serves 6

3 to 4 cups spaghetti sauce without meat
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL fennel seed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown ground beef and onion in the olive oil.  Drain, add fennel and pepper, and cook 2 minutes more until spices are fragrant.  Stir into spaghetti sauce. Heat until warmed through and serve over your choice of pasta.

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