Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ditalini and Fennel Ragu

I'm having trouble remembering what I've made and written about on here. I thought I had written about todays post already, so I went through my previous posts searching for this recipe. I guess I'm imagining things, because I haven't written about Picky Palate's Ditalini Pasta in Beef and Fennel Ragu.Yeah, it is another one of those ugly but delicious red sauce dishes. It also makes a metric ton so unless you like to eat leftovers forever/have a large family of big eaters, be prepared to half the recipe or freeze it. I made a full batch and froze half, cause that's how I roll.

The first time I made this dish and froze the leftovers I was a bit leery. I thought the noodles might get gummy or chewy after defrosting. They didn't, and the defrosted leftovers were just fine. Even Blockette likes the leftovers.

Among the strange healthy foods Blockette likes to eat, Fennel is one of them. Until I made this ragu, I'd only ever had the seeds and fronds of the fennel. I'd never had the bulb-y white part. I have to admit I was a bit reluctant to test it out. Yay! Add another veggie to the list of those that everyone in the family will eat

This time around I added finely chopped button mushrooms. Normally, I'd quarter them, but Blockette doesn't like mushrooms. I thought I'd try to be sly and sneak them in. She noticed them, but only after she had eaten almost her entire bowl of dinner. She tried to be disgusted and refuse to eat the rest of her meal.

I asked her if she thought her dinner was tasty. She stopped and thought for a minute and agreed that she indeed had enjoyed the food that she had just eaten. I then reminded her that she had been eating mushrooms the whole time. She thought again and said, "Well, maybe I DO like mushrooms." Mark one down for sneaky moms!

Ditalini Pasta In Beef and Fennel Ragu from Picky Palate
8 oz Ditalini Pasta
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bulb of fennel, thinly sliced
Pinch of salt
1 lb lean ground beef
Pinch of salt, pepper, garlic seasoning
26 oz favorite homemade or store bought pasta sauce
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped into chiffonade, thin ribbons

Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Saute onion, fennel and salt for 3-5 minutes or until softened. Stir in beef, salt, pepper and garlic seasoning; cook until browned. Stir in pasta sauce, basil leaves and cooked pasta. Season to taste. Simmer on low until ready to serve.

8 servings

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