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Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Lamb, Tomato, and Cumin Sauce

A Middle Eastern version of the spaghetti with meat sauce we all know and love, this pasta should find a ready audience. It's good with macaroni or with plain spaghetti.

  • Servings: 4

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  • 2 tablespoons cooking oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 cups canned crushed tomatoes in thick puree (one 16-ounce can)
  • 1 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3/4 pound whole-wheat spaghetti
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley


  1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and then the lamb. Cook until the meat is no longer pink, about 3 minutes. Stir in the cumin, tomatoes, and salt. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
  2. In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the spaghetti until just done, about 15 minutes. Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce, pepper, and mint.


Variation Whole-Wheat Spaghetti with Meat Sauce: You can substitute 1 pound of ground beef for the ground lamb. Use the same procedure, but decrease the cumin to 11/2 teaspoons and use parsley rather than mint.

Suggested Pairing

The spiciness of the cumin, the earthiness of the whole-wheat spaghetti, and the gaminess of the lamb are best with a full-bodied, slightly rough red wine such as a Côtes-du-Rhône from the southern part of France.

Photo © Helene Dujardin Published September 2012

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