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Rotini with Spiced Tomato & Black Olive Meat Sauce

Scott Phillips

Servings: four.



  • 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

Nutritional Information

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


  • 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.


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Reviews (9 reviews)

  • adobrinova | 12/16/2018

    This turned out fantastic! So much better than I anticipated. I used black olives instead of kalamata because my son doesn’t like them. I tend to eyeball the spices, so it was borderline too spicy, but the cinnamon, sugar, and hot flakes complemented each other perfectly. Most definitely a keeper. Thanks!

  • jillandjohn | 02/28/2016

    This was an easy dinner to make on a busy weekend. My family loved it.

  • rosannec | 09/22/2012

    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!

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