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Rotini with Spiced Tomato & Black Olive Meat Sauce

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Serves four.

  • by Tony Rosenfeld from Fine Cooking
    Issue 60

  • 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. crushed red chile flakes
  • 3/4 lb. ground beef (I prefer 85% lean)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes
  • 3/4 lb. dried rotini
  • 1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, quartered lengthwise
  • 1/3 cup packed chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Put a large pot of salted water on to boil.

Heat the oil, garlic, and chile flakes in a large saucepan over medium heat. When the garlic is fragrant but not browned, about 1 minute, add the beef and cinnamon and season generously with salt and pepper. Cook the beef, using a large spoon to break it into small pieces, until it’s evenly browned, 3 to 4 minutes.

Pu the pasta in the water.

Pour the tomatoes and their juices into the saucepan, lower the heat to medium, and cook for 5 minutes, using the spoon to break them into smaller pieces. Stir in the sugar, the olives, and all but 2 Tbs. of the parsley. Taste for salt and pepper and keep the sauce warm over low heat.

Finish cooking the rotini until it’s just tender, about 8 minutes total. Drain and add the meat sauce. Cook together, stirring well, for 1 minute. Serve immeadiatly, sprinkled with the remaining 2 Tbs. parsley.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 640; Fat (g): 24; Fat Calories (kcal): 220; Saturated Fat (g): 7; Protein (g): 29; Monounsaturated Fat (g): 13; Carbohydrates (g): 75; Polyunsaturated Fat (g): 2; Sodium (mg): 1010; Cholesterol (mg): 55; Fiber (g): 5;

Photo: Scott Phillips

I made this and loved the recipe. I used fire roasted tomatoes and, because I didn't have fresh or dried parsley, opted for dried basil and oregano. Otherwise, I followed it pretty much exactly with wonderful and flavorful results. For those familiar with Greek cooking, it tastes very much like pastitsou without the beschemel sauce topping. I love this dish and will be making it again!

I've only used ground beef once. Since then, I always, always make this with ground turkey or chicken. Everyone loves it, it's healthier, and I'm always asked for the recipe. I up the garlic and pepper flakes out of personal preferance.

I have to say that not draining the beef kinda ruined this meal for me. Maybe for Shepard's Pie, but not for a pasta sauce.I won't make it again. I liked the cinnamon flavor though...

This is a great dish. Doesn't take long to prepare, so makes a good weeknight dinner. I top with feta cheese for extra zing.

My husband and I love this recipe. I admittedly add more garlic, olives, and crushed red pepper, but not so that the recipe becomes unrecognizable. It's tastier than the average meat sauce.

I like that this recipe offers an alternative to the typical spaghetti dish. The spices and extra ingredients add flavor and color to the dish. I've made a few times and it has become one of my top quick and easy dishes on week nights.

I followed what the recipe says except that I used ground chuck and only 14.5 oz of canned tomatoes. It was a bit bland. I dont think I would do this again.

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