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Under 30 Minutes

Rigatoni with Spiced Meat Sauce

Take an everyday staple and make it uncommonly good. Just skip the jar of red sauce in favor of our robust mix-ins and add-ons.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 4
Rigatoni with Spiced Meat Sauce

Source: Everyday Food, November 2008


  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 12 ounces rigatoni or other short pasta
  • 1 pound ground lamb or beef chuck
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar


  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta until al dente; drain, and return to pot. Set aside.

  2. While pasta is cooking, cook lamb in a large saucepan over medium-high, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes. Add onion and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

  3. Stir in tomato paste, cinnamon, and cayenne, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add 1 1/2 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and cook until slightly thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, and season again with salt and pepper. Add sauce to pot with pasta, and toss to combine.

Reviews (9)

  • Eviebelle 26 Jan, 2012

    Good recipe...the lamb gives it lots of flavor. I also think you can't go wrong adding some extra salt and pepper, or even extra cinnamon.

    The nutrition info from the print version is: 569 cals, 16.6g fat (6.7g saturated), 21.9g protein, 67.1g carbs, 2.8g fiber.

  • rmbr_jry 1 Nov, 2011

    The meat sauce was good, but the cinnamon was way too strong for my tastes - it ended up overpowering the recipe for me. It did add a very nice dimension to the sauce, so I don't think I would remove it, just reduce it to maybe 1/8 tsp. Otherwise, it was quite good and I will make it again with my modifications.

  • langotti 21 Oct, 2010

    This is one of those great recipes that tastes wonderful the night that it's made and even better when it's heated up for lunch the next day. When I microwaved my leftovers, I added a little bit of water to moisten the pasta.

  • shawncvt 24 Mar, 2010

    Yum! We like spicier food so I used 1/4 tsp of Cayenne pepper and 1/4 tsp of cinnamon and it turned out great. Super easy to make!

  • phoebew 9 Feb, 2010


  • 11866409 30 Sep, 2009

    I get rave reviews every time I make this! Most people are surprised about how well the cinnamon works with the pasta and meat sauce. Delicious!!!

  • JadeNGreen36 19 Jan, 2009

    I used the ground beef. The cinnamon is not overly prevalent; the overall combination of tastes is something quite interesting. We (kids included) also liked it and have added it to our lineup. A good meal to prepare after a day at the office (it was easy, and you will be sitting down to eat in about 30 mins).

  • alpal2021 12 Jan, 2009

    I too, was reluctant to make this as i have never had a cinnamon-flavored pasta sauce before but it was a surprising combination that has made its way into my weeknight dinner rotation!

  • ginarae 30 Nov, 2008

    I was hesitant to make this as it seemed too easy, and there were no comments. I am so glad I did, it was delicious! The best part was how easy it was, I will definitely make this again!

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