Ditali Pasta & Beef Ragù with Eggplant & Cherry Tomato Sauce

Ditali Pasta & Beef Ragù

with Eggplant & Cherry Tomato Sauce

25 MIN
2 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

In this recipe, fresh cherry tomatoes (yours may be red or yellow) and eggplant lend a seasonal touch to our beef ragù, or meat sauce. (Finishing the sauce in the same pan used to brown the beef also suffuses it with savory, hearty flavor.) And for a bit of cheesy richness, we’re stirring in creamy fromage blanc, then sprinkling on grated pecorino. A garnish of fresh basil completes the dish on an herbaceous note.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    690 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Brown the beef:
1 Brown the beef:

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. In a large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, occasionally breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes, or until browned. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer the browned beef to a plate.

Prepare the ingredients:
2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the beef browns, wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the eggplant. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Halve the tomatoes; place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the eggplant & finish the beef:
3 Cook the eggplant & finish the beef:

Add the eggplant to the pan of reserved fond. (If the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.) Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until dark red and fragrant. Add the browned beef and ¾ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until thickened and the beef is cooked through. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the pasta:
4 Cook the pasta:

While the eggplant cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 9 to 11 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Finish the pasta:
5 Finish the pasta:

While the pasta cooks, pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. To the pan of cooked beef and eggplant, add the cooked pasta, seasoned tomatoes, half the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding), and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat and stir in the fromage blanc. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Plate your dish:
6 Plate your dish:

Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cheese and remaining basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Brown the beef:
1 Brown the beef:

Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. In a large pan, heat a drizzle of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the ground beef; season with salt and pepper. Cook, occasionally breaking the meat apart with a spoon, 5 to 6 minutes, or until browned. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer the browned beef to a plate.

2 Prepare the ingredients:

While the beef browns, wash and dry the fresh produce. Medium dice the eggplant. Peel and roughly chop the garlic. Halve the tomatoes; place in a bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Cook the eggplant & finish the beef:
3 Cook the eggplant & finish the beef:

Add the eggplant to the pan of reserved fond. (If the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.) Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium-high, stirring occasionally, 5 to 6 minutes, or until lightly browned and slightly softened. Add the tomato paste, garlic, and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring constantly, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until dark red and fragrant. Add the browned beef and ¾ cup of water. Cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until thickened and the beef is cooked through. Turn off the heat; season with salt and pepper to taste.

4 Cook the pasta:

While the eggplant cooks, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water. Cook 9 to 11 minutes, or until just shy of al dente (still slightly firm to the bite). Reserving ½ cup of the pasta cooking water, drain thoroughly.

Finish the pasta:
5 Finish the pasta:

While the pasta cooks, pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. To the pan of cooked beef and eggplant, add the cooked pasta, seasoned tomatoes, half the basil (tearing the leaves just before adding), and half the reserved pasta cooking water. Cook on medium-high, stirring vigorously, 1 to 2 minutes, or until coated. (If the sauce seems dry, gradually add the remaining pasta cooking water to achieve your desired consistency.) Turn off the heat and stir in the fromage blanc. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Plate your dish:

Divide the finished pasta between 2 dishes. Garnish with the cheese and remaining basil (tearing the leaves just before adding). Enjoy!

Plate your dish:
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