Beef and ziti with roasted peppers and green olives

Total Time
25 min
10 min
15 min
The secret to the savoriness of this dish comes from the splash of olive brine added to the sauce as it finishes cooking. If you have fresh basil or rosemary, use it instead of the parsley for a bolder flavor. Another trick Italian grandmothers have used for centuries is to simmer red sauces with a rind of Parmesan cheese. The rind infuses the sauce with loads of flavor as it simmers. Be sure to save your cheese rinds in a zip-close bag in your refrigerator to have on hand whenever you are making pasta sauce or braising a roast. Just discard the rinds after cooking and before serving.


Uncooked ziti

6 oz

Olive oil

2 tsp

Uncooked 93% lean ground beef

1 pound(s), (7% fat or less)

Black pepper

¼ tsp

Red onion

1 large, chopped


2 clove(s), finely chopped

Dried oregano

¾ tsp

Red pepper flakes

¼ tsp

Roasted red peppers (packed in water)

1 cup(s), drained and diced

Canned or bottled pickled green olives

16 olive(s), drained (reserving 2 tablespoons brine), coarsely chopped

Fresh parsley

¼ cup(s), chopped


  1. Cook ziti 2 minutes less than package directions specify. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water
  2. Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and black pepper and cook, breaking beef apart with wooden spoon, until no longer pink, 4–5 minutes.
  3. Add onion and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 5 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in roasted peppers, olives, and brine. Cook until heated through, 1–2 minutes.
  4. Reduce heat to medium. Add pasta and reserved cooking water to skillet and cook, stirring often, until pasta is just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in parsley.
  5. Serving size: 1½ cups