Pasta with Beef & Fennel Sauce

Much as I may claim that “laziness is the mother of invention,” there are times when I agree that necessity deserves that title. It’s certainly true in cooking. This recipe was born out of a moment of panic when I realized that somehow I had run out of spaghetti sauce with meatballs without realizing it–and I’d planned that very thing for dinner (and had no time to start up a big batch).

I did have some sauce without meatballs, though, and some ground beef. So I thought I’d make a baked ziti with meat and cheese…but that’s not really what I wanted for dinner. That’s when I got busy inventing. The result was a big hit; it has the flavor of Italian sausage without all the grease.

The whole thing cooks in the time it takes to boil a big pot of water and cook pasta, so it’s a quick and easy meal.

spaghetti with beef and fennelPASTA WITH BEEF AND FENNEL SAUCE

Serves 4

4 cups spaghetti sauce without meat
1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 medium onion, chopped fine
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL fennel seed
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper

Brown ground beef and onion in the olive oil. Drain, add fennel and pepper, and cook 2 minutes more until spices are fragrant. Stir into spaghetti sauce. Heat until warmed through and serve over your choice of pasta.

Nutrition Information excludes pasta, which varies by type. It is based on my spaghetti sauce recipe.

LABEL pasta beef fennel

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