This quick ragu exemplifies my “double up-halvsies” trick. It’s got loads of onion and fennel, just a bit of pork for flavor, and half the pasta you’re used to. Yet it’s so hearty you’ll never miss the extra meat and pasta.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cups onion, finely chopped
2 cups fennel bulbs, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, slightly crushed
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
8 ounces lean ground pork
¼ cup dry white wine
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
(1) 14-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
8 ounces rigatoni, preferably whole grain
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Heat a large non nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Swirl in olive oil and add onion, fennel and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes, until onion is translucent.
Add fennel seeds, oregano, pepper flakes, a pinch of salt and pepper, and pork to pan with onions and fennel. Stir to combine and brown pork for 3-4 minutes, chopping it up with the edge of a stiff spatula. Pour in wine and scrape up any bits stuck to the bottom of the pan while wine evaporates.
Add tomato and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 15 minutes (or more if you have time), stirring occasionally. While sauce is simmering, boil pasta, drain and return to pot. Scrape sauce into pot with pasta and toss to coat well.