Need a quick weeknight meal?
I've got just the thing for you. How does a quick penne pasta with a tasty meat sauce sound? Good? You bet it is!
This little dish is something I made up to remind me of our daily meals in Rome. We often visited this family restaurant daily. They were so friendly and we felt at home there. The owner became a good friend and would visit with us telling us stories of Italy, and in turn asking about California.
Such complete different worlds. He would have a daily dish that was made special by the chef. Sometimes pasta, other a wonderful chicken dish. But the sauces were special. Made with meat and tomatoes and garlic and onion. Hearty yet light enough to not overwhelm.
So being in the mood, this is my successful attempt at Luigi's wonderful pasta sauce. It's easy enough to make on a weeknight, but hearty enough for a complete meal with a side salad and don't forget the garlic bread.
Hope you enjoy this. It brings back fond memories of Rome.
Quick Penne Pasta with Meat Sauce
1/2 pound penne pasta
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups chopped onion (about 1 large onion)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Dash red pepper flakes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground sirloin
2 1/2 cups canned chunky tomato sauce
3 T shredded mozzarella cheese
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
Heat to boiling a large pot with 4 quarts of water in it. Once the water is boiling, salt it with 1 Tbsp of salt. Once the water returns to a boil add the pasta to the pot. Cook on high heat with a vigorous boil 8-10 minutes. Drain.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add onion, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened. Add the garlic, salt and pepper. Cook for an additional minute, until the garlic is fragrant. Add ground sirloin and stir to break up beef, browning.
Add tomato sauce. Bring to a simmer on low heat, let cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Stir in the cooked penne pasta. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and chopped parsley. Serve immediately.