Monday, May 6, 2013

Rigatoni with Italian Beef Ragu

You're getting a two-for-one recipe today. Remember the amazing Chicago-style Italian beef sandwiches I shared with you last month? Well, you really need to make them. And then you need to use the leftovers for this pasta.

What's great about both of these recipes is that they require so little time to prepare, because the Crock pot does all the work. You don't even need to make the recipes on consecutive nights; just have the sandwiches one night, and freeze the leftovers for later, which is exactly what I did. The meat tasted just as good after it had been frozen -- maybe even better!

I used a sturdy pasta with lines for this recipe to stand up to the robust sauce. Because the meat had already stewed in so many delicious ingredients, all I really had to do was make a quick tomato sauce for it, and the flavor was amazing. This dinner was a show-stopper, and definitely tasted like it took a long time to cook -- even though it was ready in the time it took to boil the pasta.

Rigatoni with Italian Beef Ragu

1 pound rigatoni or other sturdy pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups Italian beef with its juices
1 sprig thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 14.5-ounce can Italian-style stewed tomatoes
1 large can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Freshly-shredded parmesan cheese

1. Cook rigatoni in boiling salted water according to directions on package; drain.

2. Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large, high-sided skillet. Add onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook until the onion is softened and translucent. Add garlic cloves; cook and stir for 30 seconds. Stir in Italian beef with its juices and cook for a couple of minutes until heated through.

3. Add thyme and both cans of tomatoes to the pan and stir gently to combine. Heat through, then taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste.

4. Serve sauce over rigatoni and top with shredded parmesan cheese.

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