- 3/8 teaspoons salt
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 3/4 pounds 93-percent lean ground beef
- 2 1/2 teaspoons fennel seed
- One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes, preferably fire-roasted
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 ounces whole-wheat pasta, preferably penne rigate
- 1 pound broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
Bring a large pot water to boil over high heat and add 1/8 teaspoon of the salt.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Add the beef and fennel seed and cook until browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, about 3-4 minutes.
Stir in the tomatoes, remaining salt, red pepper flakes, and oregano and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
While the sauce is simmering, add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package instructions, adding the broccoli rabe 5 minutes before the pasta finishes cooking; cook until the pasta and broccoli rabe are tender.
Drain the pasta and broccoli rabe and return to the pot. Add the sauce and toss to mix and coat.