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Beef and Two-Tomato Sauce with Whole Grain Spaghetti

Serves 4

Sundried and crushed tomatoes give added texture and taste to this pasta dish.


  • 1 cup dry-packed sundried tomatoes, loosely packed
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • A couple of pinches of red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram or oregano (1/3 palmful)
  • 1/2 cup dry white or red wine or 1/2 cup additional beef stock
  • 1 can Italian crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
  • 1 box whole grain or whole wheat spaghetti (16 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • A handful of grated Pecorino Romano cheese, plus some to pass at table
  • 1/2 cup basil leaves (10-12 leaves), thinly sliced or torn


  1. Place the sundried tomatoes in a small pot and cover with the stock and 1/2 cup water. Bring the liquid to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and let the sundried tomatoes reconstitute.
  2. Place a large pot of water on the stove to boil for the pasta.
  3. Meanwhile, in a deep skillet or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons EVOO, a couple of turns of the pan, over medium-high heat. Add the beef and brown and crumble it until the meat is deep brown in color, 8-10 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and marjoram or oregano and cook for a few minutes more to soften the onion.
  4. Puree the tangy, reconstituted sundried tomatoes with the stock in food processor.
  5. Add the wine to deglaze the meat and onions, then stir in the sundried tomato puree and the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a bubble, then reduce the heat to simmer and cook the pasta.
  6. Cook the whole grain or whole wheat pasta to al dente and reserve a ladle of starchy cooking liquid just before draining. Return the pasta back to the hot pot along with the butter, starchy water and half of the meat sauce. Toss vigorously with tongs to combine. Add in the parsley and a handful of cheese and toss to incorporate. Serve the spaghetti in shallow bowls with the remaining sauce spooned overtop and garnished with torn basil.

Cooking with alcohol enhances the flavors of certain dishes. Some of the alcohol  burns off in the process of cooking. If you are concerned about using alcohol when you cook, you may use the appropriate substitute listed in the ingredients.