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This is total guy food - meaty, cheesy, filling. Even better the second day. Great to have in the fridge when you have a busy week coming up and little time to cook after work, or a bunch of hungry guys over for a football game.
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 lb whole wheat ziti (or penne)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1⁄2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1⁄2 teaspoon fennel seed
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 green pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 lb mushroom, stems removed, sliced
- salt and pepper
- 1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 3⁄4 cup dry red wine
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- Preheat a dutch oven or 5 or 6-quart pot over medium-high heat. Crumble ground beef and ground pork, break into small bits with a wooden spoon, and cook until all the pink is gone. Place a colander over a large mixing bowl and drain meat into the colander. Return pot to stove.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Cook ziti according to package directions. Drain thoroughly and set aside.
- Over medium heat, add the olive oil, heat briefly, then add the red pepper flakes and fennel seeds, heating for a minute or so. Add diced onions and green peppers, stir and cook until onion is translucent, taking care not to let them brown. Season with salt and pepper. Add the garlic and stir. Stir in the sliced mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are thoroughly cooked down, about 5 minutes or so.
- Return the meat to the pot and re-season with salt and pepper. Add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, wine, oregano, marjoram and thyme. Stir, cover and simmer over medium low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir the cooked ziti into the meat sauce mixture, and mix thoroughly. Ladle into a large casserole dish. Cover the top with the cheddar cheese.
- Bake uncovered in a 350 oven for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted and starting to brown.