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Whole-Wheat Fusilli with Beef Ragu

This chunky, full-bodied sauce is a good match for hearty whole-wheat pasta. We've augmented a little lean ground beef with mushrooms to get a rich, meaty sauce that has a minimum of saturated fat.
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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 1 hr
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Cook: 30 min
  • Yield: 6 servings, about 1 1/3 cups each
  • Nutrition Info
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8 ounces 90%-lean ground beef

1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium carrots, chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

1 stalk celery, chopped

6 ounces cremini or baby bella mushrooms, wiped clean and coarsely chopped (2 cups)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (not drained)

1/2 cup dry red wine

1-2 teaspoons fennel seeds, crushed

Large pinch of crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

12 ounces whole-wheat fusilli or rotini

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (optional)

6 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


  1. Cook beef in a large skillet over medium-high heat, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a strainer or colander and drain off fat.
  2. Heat oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens and begins to brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Add mushrooms and garlic; reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms begin to soften, 3 to 4 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and mash with a potato masher. Add wine, fennel seeds, crushed red pepper, salt and the meat; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the flavors have developed, about 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta until just tender, 9 to 11 minutes or according to package directions. Drain and toss with the sauce. Sprinkle with parsley, if desired. Pass Parmesan separately, if using.
  5. If you're only serving 2 or 3 people, toss half the sauce with 6 ounces cooked pasta; freeze the remaining sauce. If you're serving more than 6 or are just feeling industrious, you can easily double the sauce recipePasta cooked al dente has a lower glycemic index than overcooked pasta, and whole-wheat choices are lower than white.

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