Penne Strascicate (Pasta with Meat Sauce)
So, it is smack dab in the middle of November and I am sitting outside on my deck in the sunshine, in a t-shirt, and it is perfectly warm and beautiful. This weather is amazing and I’m loving it, but isn’t it also kind of weird? There have only been a few splotches of cold so far this fall, which is great for getting outside, but I just remember all those Halloweens from years past when I was freezing my butt off! I’ll take it, but hopefully this doesn’t mean we end up with a really cold spring!
Speaking of getting outside, I recently took advantage of these sunny days and 60+ temps and went for a hike with the Indy monster at Raven Rock State Park in Lillington, NC. It’s a really nice place with several different trails – definitely recommended! A lot of trails in eastern NC are still closed from Hurricane Matthew damage, but I was still able to get a good hike. Pretty, right?
Well, all this hiking had me craving some pasta and a good hearty meal, so of course… ITALIAN FOOD. I had to. I’ve been craving it lately and get so excited for it! I love good, hearty meals and think eating my way through Italy would literally be one of the best things ever. Plus, I hear wine is cheaper than water in Italy, so, sign me up for that. The amazing Italian scenery is just icing on the cake! Definitely a bucket list trip.
Penne Strascicate has the fancy Italian name, but it’s really just an old Florentine method of combining pasta and sauce – most likely just a simple solution for using up leftover pasta. However, it’s really best when fresh and homemade. I love to experiment and add my own touch to recipes, so this isn’t your traditional Penne Strascicate, but it’s still pretty darn delicious!
I have a mild obsession with bowtie pasta (or farfalle if we’re being proper), so I love any excuse to get to use it! Since I had a box on hand, I substituted it for the traditional Tuscan penne, but you’re welcome to use whichever type you prefer. I think rotini pasta would also work really well for this dish.
I added a bit more spices and some spinach, but I also think some chopped zucchini would go well in the dish too if you happened to feel so inclined. It’s a pretty uncomplicated dish while still being full of flavor, so hopefully you’ll love it as much as I do! Buon appetito!
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
- ½ tablespoon dried parsley, or 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- Big pinch dried basil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 (14.5 oz) can stewed tomatoes, or 1 lb fresh, chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1/3 cup beef broth (or more if sauce gets too dry)
- 1 pound penne, bowtie, or rotini pasta
- 3 handfuls fresh spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Fresh grated parmesan cheese, as desired
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: dash of red pepper flakes (added to meat sauce)
- In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the garlic and let it slightly brown – about 1-2 minutes. Add the onion and carrot and sauté, stirring often, until the vegetables are soft and slightly browned; about 5 – 10 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley and basil, then add the ground beef, breaking it up until browned (about 5 minutes), though it doesn’t need to be completely cooked through yet.
- Raise the heat to high, add the wine and stir until the liquid has reduced, about 3 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to medium, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Stirring frequently, cook until the liquid has reduced slightly, about 5 – 7 minutes.
- Add the broth, reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially and simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta, stir well and cook about 7-8 minutes or until tender but still firm to the bite (“al dente”).
- Drain the pasta and rinse under cold water, shaking colander to drain well.
- Add the cooked pasta to the meat sauce, as well as the butter to bind the sauce.
- Stir well and cook for another few minutes until completely combined.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and add fresh grated parmesan as desired.
- You’ll want to use as large a saucepan as you have! This is a big dish!