8 oz whole wheat elbow macaroni (or other curly whole wheat pasta)
1 lb ground sirloin beef (at least 94% lean)
1 medium onion, diced
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, diced
1 medium green pepper, diced
1-2 Tbsp Rhode Island wiener spice mix (*or use the recipe below to mix your own)
26 oz canned chopped tomato (I use POMI, in a box)
1/4 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp fresh black pepper
1 tsp red wine vinegar (optional)
Bring a large pot of water to the boil, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and rinse to stop the cooking. Set aside.
While the pasta is cooking, make the sauce: In a very large frying pan, brown the beef over medium-low heat until it's no longer pink. Add the onion, garlic, celery and green pepper, and cook for 2 minutes, until the onion and celery is translucent.
Stir in the weiner spice mix (or chili powder), and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Then, add the tomatoes, sugar, salt and pepper. Raise heat to medium, and bring the sauce to a simmer. Continue cooking for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce reduces slightly.
Add the reserved pasta and the 1/2 cup of pasta cooking water, and combine everything in the pan so the pasta is well coated with the sauce. Simmer for 2 minutes. Taste, and if the sauce seems sweet, add a splash of red wine vinegar.
Serve hot. Or, cool completely, and refrigerate or freeze.
*To mix your own weiner spices, combine 1 tsp cumin, 1 Tbsp paprika, 1 Tbsp celery salt, 1 Tbsp chili powder, 1 Tbsp ground allspice, and 2 tsp dry mustard. There are dozens of recipes and spice combinations, but in all of them, celery salt is key.