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Hearty Penne Beef Recipe

Hearty Penne Beef Recipe

This is comfort food at its finest! The best of everything is found here—it's tasty, easy and a great way to sneak some spinach in for extra nutrition. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
TOTAL TIME: Prep/Total Time: 30 min. YIELD:4 servings


  • 1-3/4 cups uncooked penne pasta
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato puree
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


  • 1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Drain. Stir in the tomato puree, broth, Italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.
  • 2. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until slightly thickened. Add spinach; cook for 1-2 minutes or until wilted.
  • 3. Drain pasta; stir into beef mixture. Sprinkle with cheese; cover and cook for 3-4 minutes or until cheese is melted.
    Freeze option: Freeze cooled pasta mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a saucepan, stirring occasionally and adding a little broth or water if necessary. Yield: 4 servings.

Nutritional Facts

1-1/2 cup: 482 calories, 20g fat (10g saturated fat), 88mg cholesterol, 1001mg sodium, 33g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 2g fiber), 41g protein.

Reviews for Hearty Penne Beef

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Katukas7 User ID: 8873839 248921
Reviewed Jun. 1, 2016

"Love it!"

ooh! User ID: 5628505 245238
Reviewed Mar. 10, 2016

"Very good! We make this often in our home!"

mother of 3 User ID: 1726536 240671
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2015

":( My DH didn't care for it. So disappointed. :("

kmolina6 User ID: 8417293 239826
Reviewed Dec. 20, 2015

"I would have given this recipe 5 stars if the taste hadn't been a tad on the bland side. I will make it again by using half ground beef,and half spicy Italian sausage,and less beef broth. I am confident that will do the trick to make it a recipe staple at my house. :)"

Parkhart User ID: 8132484 239151
Reviewed Dec. 10, 2015

"This is excellent! Based on other suggestions, I reduced the beef broth to 1/2 can and added 1/2 onion and 2 cups mushrooms. We will be eating this again!"

katlaydee3 User ID: 3741999 234007
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2015

"This made a very quick and easy one pot dinner. I also found a way around the watery problem that other people discussed. I simply increased the heat from a simmer to medium and allowed it to cook for about 20 minutes til thickened."

fkelley69 User ID: 8434142 228822
Reviewed Jul. 1, 2015

"I feel that there was some confusion about the pasta being cooked or not cooked before adding all ingredients together. I would change how much broth and puree I would use since I cooked the pasta, and add I would add some onions and mushrooms next time I make it. The sauce was fantastic and the "Huney" said it tasted good."

ojc0806 User ID: 4482783 224342
Reviewed Apr. 6, 2015

"Great recipe! I made it exactly like stated in the recipe."

Igraine32 User ID: 7006585 220668
Reviewed Feb. 16, 2015

"I Like this recipe because of the spinach addition. Anything toil make it a bit healthier and get some greens into my kid is a good thing. Everyone enjoyed this, but I did do some tweaking, because one can tell it would be fairly bland without a bit of help. First off, the amount of pasta is fine. Remember this is uncooked pasta, so the amount doubles when cooked. YSou do not want more pasta, because that would mean less sauce. I added an onion an a shallot I just happened to have to the beef, doubled the garlic and instead of a whole can of broth, I did about 4oz of broth and 4oz of red wine. Smelled fantastic. Also don't forget as a cook, you should always salt at every level, not just add the tiny amount to the sauce. So that helps with the seasoning of the dish."

Cookin4myHubby User ID: 8215538 218017
Reviewed Jan. 16, 2015

"After reading everyone's notes I decided to do a little adjusting. I was in need of a fast dinner with few ingredients for a meal for 4 adults.

4 cups of penne pasta, 1 pound beef, granulated garlic, salt and pepper to taste, Italian seasoning, 1 (24oz) can of Garlic & Herb pasta sauce, 1/2 (15oz) can of beef broth, and 2 cups of mozzarella, 2 cups fresh of sliced mushrooms, 2 cups fresh chopped spinach...
The dish turned out very good and we had left overs!"

17sebenedict User ID: 7951529 215380
Reviewed Dec. 19, 2014

"Very good recipe. I added more pasta because what the recipe called for was way too little!"

mehalv User ID: 4612167 174757
Reviewed Oct. 11, 2014

"This was a good recipe. I found the amount of liquid to be too much. I would make this again, but next time I would reduce the amount of beef broth by half. Also, I liked a previous reviewer's suggestion to add chopped onion and green pepper to the recipe and would probably do that as well."

luigimon User ID: 1692040 179571
Reviewed Sep. 20, 2014

"This was okay, but probably my fault. I fixed it the day before, without the mozzarella. The next day, we put it in the oven to warm it up and then added the mozzarella to the individual bowls. I think next time, if I'm going to bake it again, I will add some ricotta cheese. It needs something. I'll keep it in my Recipe Box, though."

Gail1959 User ID: 7916840 179568
Reviewed Sep. 17, 2014

"I made this for my husband and he loves it!"

tampacooks User ID: 7736618 90495
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2014

"I wanted to give this 5 stars but it was just alright. I found the addition of Worcestershire sauce with the Italian seasonings rather confusing and didn't like the overall taste of the two of them together. It would probably be ok without the Worcestershire. The only change I made was to add mushrooms."

Marmaladeee User ID: 7959609 107533
Reviewed Aug. 28, 2014

"I made a few adjustments. I used ground turkey, added green bell peppers, white onion, green chiles, and chili seasoning to give it some more flavor. I substituted the tomato puree with 15oz of crushed tomatoes and added a small 8oz can of tomato sauce. I also didn't use the beef broth and just added a little bit of water. Then I used half the amount of cheese the recipe recommended and I traded regular pasta with some whole grain pasta. I served this dish with some mixed steamed green vegetables on the side, it was delicious and very filling!"

momio User ID: 2526647 163349
Reviewed Aug. 21, 2014

"We liked it! It was simple and filling and tasted good."

dvierzen User ID: 7402990 94196
Reviewed Jul. 20, 2014

"Very tasty and easy to make! I added bell peppers and used cajun seasoning instead of italian to give it a little kick."

collegecook30 User ID: 7867466 105903
Reviewed Jun. 27, 2014

"This is one of my favorite recipes to make when I don't feel like doing much work. When I make it, I add more garlic, onions, about 1/4 cup of sugar, fresh basil, and fresh tomatoes. Instead of using the beef stock, I use a little beef base with about half a cup of water. I also turn it to low and let it simmer for about 25 minutes. As for the cheese, I recommend putting it on top and popping it under the broiler for a bit to add a bit of crunch."

Annyblueberries User ID: 7856138 115210
Reviewed Jun. 19, 2014

"So simple to make and yet super delicious! Comfort food in 20 minutes yummmmm"

kcrihfield89 User ID: 5121811 105900
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2014

"My husband loved this! Instead of tomato puree I used a can of peeled crushed tomatoes."

foody2014 User ID: 7556455 179562
Reviewed Dec. 24, 2013

"I really liked it I threw in a few scoops of fresh pico degio turned out delish will have again."

GLadnerJr User ID: 7546422 176698
Reviewed Dec. 18, 2013

"Betty Crocker Hamburger Helper is more tasty than this dish! It is so BLAND, that in comparison, popping open a can of tuna and eating it from the can with a fork is a gourmet meal compared to this stuff. Waste of time and money. I don't get the others here giving it great reviews!?!?"

joannechristenson User ID: 7019472 115208
Reviewed Aug. 12, 2013

"This recipe was so easy. I usually cook gourmet food for my husband, but had my 3 year old granddaughter coming to dinner and she loves pasta. Everyone loved this! !! I was shocked and so happy."

DELLQ User ID: 1699038 175265
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2013

"It is easy to make and delicious."

Ajayem User ID: 7338238 173552
Reviewed Jul. 15, 2013

"I'm rating the result when I made this recipe. Many thanks to the other users who provided comments/suggestions. I added onion, extra garlic,a shake of dried chilli flakes, and a sprinkle of Vegeta, and cut down the amount of beef stock. Turns out I've run out of Worcestershire Sauce, which is sad, but it was still great. So very very tasty."

katecrid47 User ID: 7098019 158311
Reviewed Jul. 12, 2013

"This was good, quick and easy that even my eleven year old could make it. The spinach was a great addition. It was slightly bland for the adults but my picky eater kids loved it. I did you tomato paste with water added to create a puree as I did not have any. Other than that followed the recipe."

SanityBreak202 User ID: 2886293 174756
Reviewed Jun. 18, 2013

"Family liked this. Used tomato paste instead of purée and added garlic and more pasta. Husband said toad more spinach next time."

Lin1234 User ID: 7117377 179558
Reviewed Feb. 1, 2013

"So I agree with many reviews below...I followed the recipe exact & there were two issues (both easily resolved)...First, the recipe is very bland. Good, but bland. It needs a little kick, such as more garlic, onion, peppers, garlic salt/powder...something...Then second issue was how thin the sauce was. I though I had let it simmer until it thickened enough, but I was wrong. I think the two reviews below - one saying they used half the beef broth & the other saying they used tomato paste - both were spot on. Overall, after some adjustment, I think it would be very good. I will try to make it again."

michaels99 User ID: 4810512 115206
Reviewed Jan. 26, 2013

"This was delicious. I used whole grain pasta and only a half a can of beef broth. I was afraid it would be too watery. Next time I will use more tomato sauce and add some tomato paste. Definitely will be making this again!"

zeldathegood User ID: 1918057 158310
Reviewed Jan. 19, 2013

"This was very good. For us I will add more cheese, more garlic and add onion the next time. I like adding the spinach - Thanks! 5 stars"

IseNanao User ID: 2548282 173551
Reviewed Nov. 12, 2012

"Excellent! Easy to make and delicious! :)"

Jennifer J User ID: 6963497 94195
Reviewed Nov. 10, 2012

"VERY good. Made this for meat and potato lovin men and it went over great! Even better second day. used corn instead of spinach. 2C cheese was too much - made it stringy. Second time I made with just sprinkling on top and was perfect"

Kelleysvt User ID: 995829 179557
Reviewed Nov. 7, 2012

"this turned out to be a really good knockoff of hamburger helper lasagne. The only changes I'd make would be to add some finely chopped onion and maybe more garlic. Wait to add the cheese until you serve it. The melted cheese makes a mess when you're serving."

SparkysCountryGirl User ID: 5640291 210080
Reviewed Oct. 23, 2012

"I for some reason didn't realize that this recipe is more of a fancy spaghetti type dish until I was making it. It's not bad. I like how you basically make your own sauce. I never done that before. Prolly wont make it a staple in our house but nice for a change."

chicker30 User ID: 4573589 115205
Reviewed Oct. 21, 2012

"The best recipe"

Garybob822 User ID: 6783508 158309
Reviewed Oct. 2, 2012

"This recipe is way too bland and there is too much cheese. It needs some chopped onion and some chopped peppers to spice it up a bit. Disappointing."

Karen.Buske User ID: 6777614 210079
Reviewed Sep. 22, 2012

"Very good recipe. I had to leave out the salt and spinach since my brother-in-law has kidney disease. Theres way too much sodium in spinach. I was shocked to find that out. But the dish is wonderful! Thank you!"

NurseFleming User ID: 967315 175264
Reviewed Sep. 6, 2012

"Good! Added onion, extra garlic, fresh tomatoes! 1 cup cheese! I used tomato paste and had no problem with it being too watery!"

tarasawchuk User ID: 5685688 141946
Reviewed Aug. 29, 2012

"It tastes good, but not so good I'd rush to make it again...i did add extra veggies and switched the white pasta for wholewheat..."

sizzlincook User ID: 6810757 174686
Reviewed Aug. 11, 2012

"This was very good! Will make it again.

As to the few who commented this was bland, perhaps if you taste your food while you are cooking and adjust the recipe to your tastes you might have better luck. Since this is a Italian based dish, You could try herbs such as basil,oregano, or parsley."

apoole82 User ID: 6747383 174684
Reviewed Jul. 26, 2012

"DELICIOIUS! kids loved it too!"

30yearcook User ID: 6628344 101713
Reviewed Jul. 7, 2012

"Very bland. Like hamburger helper. Won't make again."

ChocolatopolusCake User ID: 6671380 107520
Reviewed Jul. 6, 2012

"Unique flavor, do not be afraid to try!"

Pittypat5458 User ID: 6685932 115203
Reviewed Jun. 1, 2012

"Easy and delicious. My husband said it was like eating pizza without the crust. Will definitely make again."

BTurner7 User ID: 5827945 101711
Reviewed May. 30, 2012

"My 9 year old said this was better than regular spaghetti! Everyone loved it."

jujubean79 User ID: 5830255 141944
Reviewed May. 25, 2012

"I thought this was really delicious. I did cut the broth a bit because it was a little runny. Also after adding the cheese, I put the skillet under the broiler to get the cheese brown and bubbly."

creampuff9 User ID: 6638915 115202
Reviewed Apr. 14, 2012

"Easy to make, inexpensive and good flavor. I doubled the recipe to feed 6 of us, but I didn't double the bf broth bcuz I could tell the sauce would b too soupy. I did add red pepper flakes for a bit of zip. I would agree that this is a good recipe to use to sneak spinach into your kids...mine didn't even notice it."

tampateacher User ID: 5195640 107519
Reviewed Apr. 3, 2012

"I read the reviews and decided to three minced garlic cloves, the broth from Lipton's beefy onion powder mix (minus the dried onion & added fresh onions), and I cook out most of the liquid before adding the penne. It was delicious."

BigPickles User ID: 6552065 158308
Reviewed Feb. 28, 2012

"This recipe is very delicious my family ate every last bit."

Duckhunter39 User ID: 6483714 163346
Reviewed Feb. 11, 2012

"My family loved this meal! Great flavor and very easy to make."

navywife01 User ID: 6121110 210078
Reviewed Jan. 28, 2012

"simple and delicious"

kap1013 User ID: 6465847 174682
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2012

"Very easy and good!"

jules.i.m User ID: 1847310 173549
Reviewed Jan. 24, 2012

"The flavors didn't have time to mix at all and didnt fit together. If you want spinach just stir it into your regular baked spaghetti recipe. There are much better recipes out there to try."

darcien007 User ID: 5786236 176694
Reviewed Dec. 28, 2011

"This is also very good with picante sauce instead of tomato purree"

kathleen ng User ID: 5858988 160475
Reviewed Dec. 3, 2011

"I did not make this but I did read the reviews. To the person who used tomato sauce, it's not the same as puree. Puree is much thicker and that might account for it being watery. For people who are concerned about salt, delete the the added salt and use low sodium products, you don't like lots of cheese, clearly, use less. A recipe is really a guide. If you like spice add the onion as one person did, add extra spices like rosemary, fennel seeds, thyme, fresh fennel. Cook to YOUR tastes and YOUR dietary needs and then write a useful review...not "1000 mg of sodium in one meal is far from healthy". Point out the high content of sodium ... fine. But that is easily fixed. Too much cheese easily fixed. Bland...useful review so people know to spice it up if they like stronger flavors."

Ellen Gines User ID: 5399203 163344
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2011

"I made this with ground turkey instead of beef. Everyone in my family loved it, even the 2 year old, who doesn't like anything with vegetables in it. Will definitely be making this again!"

RandiEwing User ID: 5825929 179555
Reviewed Nov. 30, 2011

"Delicious! Easy to make and a great weeknight dinner!"

xlsalbums User ID: 5254917 210077
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2011

"a little less cheese"

tlbotr User ID: 3451413 90489
Reviewed Nov. 5, 2011

"I added frozen spinach that bought fresh. The leaves separated easily and crumbled well. I couldn't taste the spinach. I replaced the tomato puree with V8 juice. I sprinkled the cheese on top and baked for 10 minutes. Delicious, filling, and nutritious. I am keeping this recipe."

kristials User ID: 3583335 90488
Reviewed Oct. 26, 2011

"I added more salt/pepper/italian seasoning and garlic and I thought it was delicious. I usually add a little more spice to recipes, regardless. Thumbs up from our family. I would definitely make this again."

anselr User ID: 2011539 174681
Reviewed Oct. 9, 2011

"This dish is fine, just nothing to write home about."

simpson5togo User ID: 5383749 107518
Reviewed Oct. 5, 2011

"Thought this had excellent flavor--I added about 1/2 cup chopped onion and fresh garlic when cooking beef, think this would fix any "blandness" anyone might experience. Also, Walmart sells tomato puree--this is a keeper for my family"

mrslive4jc1 User ID: 6131767 115200
Reviewed Oct. 4, 2011

"Very Bland tasting"

DebOpe User ID: 4262042 174680
Reviewed Sep. 30, 2011

"This was excellent! My family loved it.. definitely a favorite"

M Wiley User ID: 5462780 105897
Reviewed Sep. 23, 2011

"Super good! Even the kids liked it. I did up the salt to 1/2 a teaspoon, and added 2 tablespoons of cornstach, at the end to thicken it up a bit. All and all I will definitly make it again."

chelsealima User ID: 4350522 141942
Reviewed Sep. 20, 2011

"Super tasty! I would agree with the other comments, there was too much cheese! I will be making this dish again but put only 4 ounces of cheese on top."

brulee1 User ID: 6209251 175261
Reviewed Sep. 18, 2011

"I thought this was very good, but 8 ounces of cheese was way too much and we love cheese."

Rockamama User ID: 1263362 115198
Reviewed Aug. 25, 2011

"How often do you update your top ten food categories? These all seem to have been around forever."

maryang22 User ID: 2271298 94190
Reviewed Aug. 19, 2011

"my family loves this. It's hearty and healthy."

Rockamama User ID: 1263362 101710
Reviewed Aug. 15, 2011

"Blah tasting and wa-a-y too salty!"

tonia1956 User ID: 5825257 173548
Reviewed Jul. 7, 2011

"really great! when my husband says keep it its that means great recipe thanks and keep them coming"

strayxdogxstrut User ID: 5418908 179548
Reviewed Jun. 28, 2011

"I probably won't make this again, it was okay, but a bit bland and turned out too soupy."

wisdomb User ID: 5887243 105894
Reviewed Mar. 18, 2011

"I used mild italian sausage instead of hamburger and it turned out great-not bland at all-finicky kids had seconds!!!"

jenrunn User ID: 5712696 176692
Reviewed Mar. 7, 2011

"Everyone in our family loved this recipe. From the two year old to the 16 year old. It was a great way to get some spinich into their diet."

10sChick User ID: 4943196 158305
Reviewed Feb. 17, 2011

"I am still smiling after eating this meal. My family of 4 is so hard to please. All have different tastes of what they like and what they don't. Everybody loved this and I was impressed myself at how easy it is to whip right on the stove top on a week night. Is it gourmet food? No. But this is a lovely little comfort food dish that is tucked away now in my favorite recipes pile! I followed the recipe exactly - no substitutions and had no problems with it being too watery as others have commented. Just a nice hearty dish in a rich sauce at the end."

piggies4me User ID: 4031097 173546
Reviewed Jan. 25, 2011

"Too bland. Too much cheese on the top. It was hard to serve."

lisabteach User ID: 5222515 101709
Reviewed Jan. 21, 2011

"I did not like this recipe at all. There are so many better recipes out there for penne beef pasta."

MY REVIEW User ID: 3837066 107492
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2011

"1000mg of sodium in one meal is far from healthy"

Rockamama User ID: 1263362 141930
Reviewed Jan. 10, 2011

"I don't get the reviewer who said "it's really healthy." I found it to be salty and bland. Won't be making this again, sorry."

Reggie Boppy User ID: 5725387 173545
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2010

"This recipe was easy to make, but a bit too bland for my taste."

Lisa Ruby User ID: 2163500 173543
Reviewed Dec. 27, 2010

"This is one of our family favorites. Love that the kids will eat the spinach this way!"

kerrynjames User ID: 5662698 176691
Reviewed Dec. 16, 2010

"The flavor in this dish was great, but mine came out soupy... I used frozen spinach instead of fresh (which obviously added more water) and tomato sauce instead of puree (which I am assuming is the same thing). To combat the moisture, I stuck it in the oven at 375 for ten minutes. That helped.

Overall, we both enjoyed the dish and I will make it again with less liquid."

Deborah B. User ID: 5553811 105888
Reviewed Dec. 13, 2010

"My family loved this! My 6 year old helped make it, and loved it, and she doesn't even like spaghetti. What a sneaky way to get spinach in the kids! My mom is coming over tonight, so I'll be making this for dinner."

Kimberly Barone User ID: 5579301 179547
Reviewed Nov. 8, 2010

"A little bland and boring. Not a big hit in our house."

KaSm User ID: 4498999 107490
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2010

"Tomato puree consists of tomatoes that have been briefly cooked then strained. Tomato puree is a thick liquid.

Substitutions: 1 cup tomato puree = 2 Tablespoons tomato paste plus water to make 1 cup
For this recipe, use 4 T paste and add water to make 2 cups. (15 oz. is 1 oz., or 2 T short of 2 cups) Hope this helps."

brazenlove User ID: 5575037 163340
Reviewed Nov. 6, 2010

"i just made it today for lunch and my husband and I loved it! It's really healthy. we paired it with spinach and tomato salad. it was superb!"

aestill23 User ID: 4772211 210076
Reviewed Nov. 4, 2010

"tomato puree is also called tomato paste..."

angelasandoval User ID: 2401339 176689
Reviewed Aug. 10, 2010

"I couldn't find tomato puree at the store I regularly shop at, so I used sauce instead, but had to let it simmer almost twice as long as recipe called for. The only thing I'd change for next time is add a little more spinach. Delicious and easy recipe!"

nott818 User ID: 1584703 90481
Reviewed Apr. 22, 2010

"This was a hit with everyone in my house. I have made it three times now. My local grocery store doesn't carry tomato puree, so I've been using sauce. I don't really care for the consistency I get with that--have to serve it with a slotted spoon as it's kinda runny. Anyone have any other suggestions? Is tomato puree a regional name--does it go by a different name (I live in Iowa)?"

bloocat68 User ID: 4593521 107487
Reviewed Mar. 26, 2010

"This is a keeper! I added crushed red pepper to mine though. Yummy! But good without too! So quick to make. Im going to double the recipe next time I make it so it lasts longer!"

bjrozsa User ID: 1577297 173541
Reviewed Oct. 1, 2009

"I never take the time to comment on a recipe but this ine is so easy and good and I wanted to share that thought. My husband and picky son both took seconds. I added more pasta than what the recipe said but it was perfect and so easy"

redneck30girl User ID: 4406421 174670
Reviewed Sep. 29, 2009

"Looks wonderful! Can't wait to try it! This has my favorite ingredients too!"

mschwiner User ID: 3722038 101703
Reviewed Dec. 30, 2008

"This dish pleases everyone-especially the cook! I make with whole wheat pasta and grin as my unassuming hubby "indulges" on a high-fiber, lower-fat, veggie-packed meal :)"

bulau User ID: 803340 94189
Reviewed Oct. 10, 2008

"this is a really good recipe.


0118Lori User ID: 309886 176688
Reviewed Sep. 24, 2008

"OMG....this is one of our favorite recipes. I made it for my neighbor and she can't stop making it either. It is very easy to make and everyone of loves it."

alicia3825 User ID: 1701681 176687
Reviewed Sep. 9, 2008

"My husband and I loved this dish. I did not have mozzarella Cheese so I used Cheddar cheese and it was still very good. I am going to be adding it to my regular dishes! Thanks!"

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Wine Pairings

Medium-Bodied Red Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied red wine such as Chianti, Sangiovese, Malbec or Zinfandel.