Prep 45 mins
Cook 20 mins
This recipe was born of some of my favorite ingredients from Spaghetti Bolognaise but prepared with thick, comforting chunks. It's quick and comforting; one of the only dishes I make with penne as I've come to think of most thicker-than-spaghetti pastas as "too heavy". This, however, is delightfully filling with a touch of spice.
- 1 bulb of garlic
- 8 ounces penne, dried
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons fennel seeds
- 7 ounces green bell peppers, small dice (1/2-inch pieces)
- 5 ounces yellow onions, small dice (1/2-inch pieces)
- 4 ounces carrots, shredded
- 2 tablespoons basil, dried
- 1 lb lean hamburger
- 1⁄4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1⁄4 teaspoon black pepper
- 15 ounces tomatoes, rough chop
- 15 ounces crushed tomatoes (canned)
- 4 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- salt & freshly ground black pepper
- Start by prepping the ingredients. Cut the top off of the garlic bulb and drizzle with half a Tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with a pinch of black pepper and wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place the wrapped garlic bulb in a 425 degree (Fahrenheit) oven for 45 minutes. Cook the penne in about half a gallon of boiling, salted water for about 10 minutes or until al-dente. When the penne and garlic are done, set aside and start on the main dish.
- In a pot with high sides over high heat, add the remaining 1-1/2 Tablespoons of olive oil, the chili flakes, and the fennel seeds. Stir a bit to keep from burning only until the oil is flavored and slightly reddish. This should only take about a minute or two, depending on what "high heat" is on your stove top. The fennel seeds will start to sizzle and pop when they are ready.
- Add the diced green pepper, onion, and shredded carrot. Season with salt and pepper and stir to coat in the oil, chili flakes, and fennel seeds. Cook until the onions have become translucent.
- Add the dried basil, crushing it a bit between your fingertips as you add it, to release flavors. Stir into the vegetables along with the roasted garlic, squeezed from its bulb.
- Add the hamburger in small pinches, each pinch being a small bite-sized bit that would fit onto a spoon, easily, with some peppers and onions. Season the meat, once it is all in the pot on top of the vegetables, with salt and pepper - about an 1/4 of a teaspoon of each.
- Stirring occasionally, brown the meat and blend it in with the vegetables.
- When the meat is browned, reduce the heat and stir in the chopped tomatoes and crushed tomatoes. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the freshly chopped tomatoes lose some of their shape, stirring only three or four times to prevent burning.
- Stir in the penne and remove from heat.
- Serve with an ounce of Parmesan cheese on each serving.