February 18, 2011

Penne Pasta with Quick Red Wine Tomato Sauce

This fresh tasting recipe is a nice change from your usual hearty meat sauce. The reduced cooking wine gives it the robust flavor you get with slow simmered sauces.

1/2 to 1 pound whole wheat or regular penne pasta
1/2 to 1 pound ground round, cooked and crumbled* (optional)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil (or fresh, minced)
4 garlic cloves, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 cup red cooking wine
1-28 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
dash crushed red pepper
1/4 grated parmesan

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add onion, thyme and basil; stir 3 to 5 minutes or until onion is tender. Add garlic, cooking until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Increase the heat to medium high and add cooking wine; boil for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Add tomatoes, salt, sugar (if using) and red pepper. Simmer 8 minutes. Combine with pasta and meat (if using); top with fresh or dry grated parmesan.
* Add as much meat and pasta as you like, depending on how saucy you want this.

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