What’s for Dinner: Spaghetti With Meat Sauce and Mozzarella

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Because of all the rain we’ve had this spring, our herb garden has been exploding. I thought this Real Simple recipe would be a great way to use some of the basil. I’m looking forward to making this again when we have ripe tomatoes from the garden, too.

Serves 4
Hands-on Time: 25m

Total Time: 25m 

Ingredients
12 ounces spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
kosher salt and black pepper
3/4 pound ground beef chuck
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds beefsteak or plum tomatoes, chopped
6 ounces bocconcini, halved, or 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions
1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
 2. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion begins to soften, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add the beef to the skillet and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to soften, 5 to 7 minutes more (add up to ¼ cup water if the pan is dry).
4. Add the beef mixture, bocconcini, and basil to the pasta and toss to combine.

My alterations: I used whole-wheat pasta and ground turkey. For a prettier presentation next time, I would toss the sauce, basil and mozzarella separately and then serve it over the pasta.