Not-Sagna Pasta Toss

Another day, another Rachael Ray recipe, it seems. This one comes from her Food Network show. What a great shortcut meal. I’m not a fan of making lasagna. I tend to tear the noodles and I’m not a fan of the layering of everything. Why not make it easy and just toss everything together. Be careful though, as this makes a TON of food. If you are cooking for 2, plan on lots of leftovers.

Not-Sagna Pasta Toss


1 pound curly short cut pasta (I used mini fusilli)

Coarse salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan

1 pound ground sirloin

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, eyeball it in your palm

Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon allspice, eyeball it in your palm

1 teaspoon, several drops, Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup dry red wine, a couple of glugs

1/2 cup beef stock

1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I used a 14 oz can of fire roasted tomatoes)

1 1/2 cups part-skim ricotta cheese (I used Fat Free Ricotta)

1 cup fresh basil, about 20 leaves

1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls, plus some to pass at table

Heat a large pot of water to boil for pasta. Salt water and cook pasta to al dente. Heads up: you will need a ladle of the starchy cooking water to help form sauce before draining.

Heat a deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, 2 turns of the pan. Add the meat and break it up into small bits as it caramelizes. Once meat has good color to it, 4 to 5 minutes, add garlic, onions and red pepper flakes and season with salt, pepper, allspice and Worcestershire sauce. Cook another 5 minutes, deglaze the meat and onions with red wine, cook off a minute, then combine about 1/2 cup of stock into the meat. Stir in the tomatoes and bring to a bubble. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer 5 minutes.

Place ricotta cheese in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Add a ladleful of boiling, starchy pasta water to the ricotta and stir to combine. Add a couple of handfuls of grated Parmesan to the ricotta and mix it in.

Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with cheeses. Add half the thick meat sauce to the pasta bowl and combine. Tear or shred the basil and add to the meat and pasta, toss again.

Taste to adjust salt and pepper. Serve bowlfuls of Not-sagna with extra sauce on top and more grated Parmesan to pass at the table.

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