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Want to make something extra delicious for dinner this week? Check out our favorite recipe for rigatoni with a spicy beef ragu sauce!

TheChic_spicy-rigatoni-pasta

This spicy beef ragu is super easy to adjust if you’ve got younger peeps joining you for dinner… just leave out the chili flakes.

TheChic_spicy-rigatoni-ingredientsPasta is a weeknight dinner staple.  It requires minimal ingredients, it’s a breeze to make, and it feeds a crowd.

This spicy meat ragu is a very substantial sauce that requires a strong pasta.  I would not suggest serving this with angel hair pasta.  If you don’t have rigatoni, pappardelle or fettuccine is also great.

Although I like my sauce spicy, not everyone agrees with me.  If you’d like to make this sauce more kid-friendly, or you want it mild- simply reduce the amount of red pepper flakes or omit it altogether.    

TheChic_mushroom-sauce-thickenerEver make a meat-tomato sauce that ends up separating?  Yes, it happens to all of us one time or another.  To prevent such mishaps, I have learned to make a bread mixture that helps keep the sauce together.  Mushrooms provide a nice meaty flavor when cooked and when mixed with the bread and milk paste, it helps to thicken the sauce while also acting as a stabilizer.  

Forget the pre-made, bottled pasta sauce.  Tonight, make something special! (Don’t forget about dessert!  This slow-cooker creme brûlée will knocks your socks off!)

Rigatoni with Spicy Beef Ragu
Skip the bottled jar of sauce when you can easily make it from scratch!
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Ingredients
  1. 5 oz button mushrooms, sliced
  2. 1 slice white bread
  3. 2 Tbsp 2% milk
  4. 1 Tbsp olive oil
  5. 1 medium onion, chopped
  6. 7 garlic cloves, minced
  7. 1 pound 85% lean ground beef
  8. 1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  9. 1 tsp dried oregano
  10. 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  11. 1-14.5 oz can diced tomato*, drained
  12. 1- 28 oz can crushed tomato*
  13. salt and pepper, to taste
  14. 2 pounds rigatoni pasta, cooked al dente according to package instructions
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, pulse mushroom until fine. Add torn bread slice and milk. Process until mixture it is paste-like. Set aside.
  2. In a large pot, heat olive oil. Once oil is warm, add garlic and onions. Cook over medium heat unit garlic is fragrant and onions are almost translucent.
  3. Add mushroom paste mixture. Stir to combine and cook for about 3-5 minutes until mushroom is cooked.
  4. Add ground meat in chunks and stir to combine. Season generously with salt and pepper. Add red pepper flakes, dried oregano, and tomato paste. Stir to distribute.
  5. Continue to cook until meat has browned. Then add diced tomato and crushed tomato. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cover pot and allow sauce to simmer for another 15-20 minutes. Check on sauce every 7 minutes or so to stir contents.
  6. Taste sauce and season accordingly with more salt as needed.
  7. Serve sauce warm over freshly cooked pasta. Serve with parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes for extra spice.
Notes
  1. * I prefer to use no-salt added tomatoes so I can be in control of the amount of salt.
  2. This recipe makes about 8-10 servings of sauce. Freeze any leftovers and use within the month. Simply reheat and use as usual.
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