As some of you have read, I was recently diagnosed with celiac disease, which has made me have to rethink a large bulk of the meals I make. And since I would rather eat a piece of plain old white bread versus a decadent piece of chocolate, this has been while not hard, a bit challenging. And pasta? Oh my gosh I would eat huge bowls of pasta loaded with butter and be in total bliss. What can I say? I loved and miss my wheat. (Yes, they do make gluten-free breads and pastas but quite frankly, after sampling about 6 different brands of pasta, I still don’t love them. They are pretty much, just ok.)
Anyway, I saw this recipe in the July/August 2015 Woman’s Day magazine and it looked and sounded so amazingly delicious. The price was good, and after reading the ingredient list, I knew I could easily make it gluten-free just by switching the type of pasta I used. And I thought the flavors and texture of the sauce would help disguise the gluten-free pasta a bit.
This recipe makes enough spaghetti for 4 and using regular pasta, Woman’s Day priced it at $2.59 per serving ($10.36 total.) Now the price of the ground beef can change up your total cost by quite a bit, depending on where you buy it. The day I shopped, ground beef was $6.18 per pound at Walmart but Safeway had it on sale for $3.47 per pound so I obviously bought it at Safeway and saved almost $3.00. And because gluten-free products typically cost a lot more, I’m trying to be even more savvy with sale prices on other items, which means I shop the ads before leaving the house. The dry white wine I used came from a box, which I love to use in recipes since it lasts forever, and a pint of cherry tomatoes were on sale for $2.50 at Safeway.
Using Barilla gluten-free spaghetti, which is the only brand I’ve bought more than once because it’s actually pretty good, and paid $2.00 for at Walmart, I was able to make this gluten-free and still be budget-friendly. My total cost came in at $11.65 for 4 servings, less than $3 per person.
The best part? It was SO DELICIOUS! My husband told me he’d eat this every week, he liked it that much. And of course you can use either version.
FRESH TOMATO BEEF RAGU –
Recipe From Woman’s Day July/August 2015
Active Time: 25 minutes Total Time: 25 minutes Serves: 4 for approx. $10.36 ($11.65 GF version)
12 ounces spaghetti (regular, gluten-free, whole grain, etc.)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound lean ground beef
Kosher salt and pepper
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 red onion, thinly sliced
Grated Parmesan and small fresh basil leaves, for serving
** I changed the amount of red onion in the recipe because I wanted more flavor since I was using gluten-free pasta. I used an entire red onion, using 1/2 of the onion, thinly sliced that you finish with and I added the other half, chopped, to the garlic when cooking.
Cook the pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup cooking liquid, drain the pasta and return it to the pot. GF followers – You’ll most likely (according to package directions) be draining and rinsing the pasta with cold water after it’s cooked. I didn’t add the additional cup of cooking liquid, afraid it would make the pasta texture mushy and even more bland.
Grate the zest of the lemon directly into the pot, then squeeze in the juice (you should have about 2 teaspoons zest and 3 tablespoons juice.) Drizzle with 1 tablespoon oil and toss to combine (adding some of the reserved cooking liquid if the pasta seems dry.)
While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until it starts to brown around the edges, about 1 minute. (This is when I added the chopped onion.) Add the beef, season with 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, breaking it up with a spoon into small pieces, until browned, 4 to 6 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, until the beef starts to get a bit crispy. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, 2 to 3 minutes.
Serve the beef with the pasta, tomatoes and onion. Sprinkle with Parmesan and basil, if desired.