.

.

May 27, 2012

Weeknight Bolognese



Please visit Beth Fish Reads for Weekend Cooking.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.



I love pasta and was looking for something quick and easy to throw together after a long day at work. Tyler Florence has a delicious recipe for bolognese, but it's fairly involved and one that I'd rather make on a cold, rainy weekend. However, Ina Garten's recipe from Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That? was just what I had in mind.




She writes:

Everyone needs a quick dinner they can throw together during the week. Bolognese is a thick meat sauce that is a staple of northern Italy. It's always made with beef, tomatoes, and cream and I've added oregano, red pepper flakes, and basil to give it lots of flavor. It's the perfect stick-to-your-ribs dinner on a cold night.

I say it's perfect for any night. Even a hot summer night!

Weeknight Bolognese 





2 Tbsp. good olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta
1 lb. lean ground sirloin
4 tsp. minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 Tbsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
1-28 oz.  can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 lb. dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box. 

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Serves 4 to 5

My Notes:

Since I used ground chuck instead of lean sirloin, it wasn't necessary to use the olive oil to brown the meat. After it finished cooking, I drained the fat before adding the spices.

I used a medium-sized stockpot rather than a skillet.

Rather than open a can of tomato paste for just a couple of tablespoons, I use this:



Even though it's double concentrated, I still use the specified amount.

I reduced the amount of salt and pepper by half and red pepper flakes.

I forgot to toss the sauce with the Parmesan and pasta before serving, but it didn't matter. My husband and I both loved the flavor of this bolognese, so I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to try it Ina's way.





22 comments:

  1. That looks delicious! I keep that same tomato paste on hand all the time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't that tomato paste handy?! I used to buy the small cans and waste more than half. I think the stuff in the tube tastes better, too.

      Delete
  2. I was wondering about the amount of salt called for in the original recipe. It seems like it would be a lot, so I'm glad to know you only used half of it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, good. I thought it was just me. Normally, I leave the salt out, but this time I decided to put some in. Just not a full tablespoon!

      Delete
  3. This sounds really good. I love Ina Garten's no-nonsense approach to really good food.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's quite yummy, Caitlin. I have several of Garten's cookbooks and need to try more of her recipes. I love the photography, but have to admit that I haven't found a lot of winners with regards to the food. But I'll keep trying! :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  4. I use Ina's How Easy Is That? often, but I haven't tried the bolognese yet. Her Chicken and Shallots is a family favorite.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'll give the Chicken & Shallots recipe a try later this week. As I mentioned to Caitlin, I haven't found a lot of great recipes in Garten's books, but I do love her photos. Time to start trying more of her recipes. That said, her Rugalach is outstanding!

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  5. I have pretty much all of Ina's books. I love her style and her recipes. I don't think I've made this one because I usually just kind of wing it when I make Bolognese. I'll have to try it. I'm sorry that you've had less success with her books than I have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't get me wrong. I have found some good recipes. It's kind of been hit-or-miss, though. I just need to keep sampling her recipes. I love her rugalach and a Chinese chicken salad with peanut sauce. Yummm!

      Delete
  6. Yum! Sounds like a quick, easy way to go. And I love Ina's way of adding "good" to the front of anything. Good olive oil. Good cheese. Good times.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very quick and easy and so much better than Prego! ;)

      Delete
  7. Oh, that looks absolutely wonderful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is! We had leftovers for lunch and it was quite delicious. I love the flavor of the red wine. :)

      Delete
  8. I love Ina's recipes, despite the loads of calories packed in..LOL

    Hope you've been doing well Les.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Calories?! ;)

      I've been doing great, Diane. Just super busy with the garden and biking. I haven't had much time to comment on all my favorite blogs, but I am reading them! Now to start posting more on my own blog!

      Delete
  9. My kind of recipe. thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! And thanks for stopping by.

      Delete
  10. I love pasta and this sounds so good. The cookbook sounds great too. I like her recipes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I, too, love pasta and it's very yummy. The red wine gives it a lovely flavor.

      Thanks so much for stopping by. I "recognize" you from comments on Nan's blog. I love your header and now have your blog bookmarked for future visits!

      Delete
  11. Curious where you've been able to find the tubes of tomato paste! I've looked all over but am thinking just not in the right place. Last time I opened a can of tomato paste I spooned the leftover into and ice tray (in tbsp portions) and froze. I needed two tbsp the other day and it was wonderful just to pull it out of the freezer with no waste. But the tubes would be even more convenient!

    Nutmeg. Interesting addition!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think I've bought the tubes of tomato paste at our neighborhood grocery store. It's a small store that stocks lots of unusual (hard-to-find) items, but I think our large chain stores (Russ's and Hyvee) carry it, as well. If you can't find it locally, you can probably buy it from Amazon. Trader Joe's carries it, too.

      I'm not sure why I bother with the nutmeg. I don't think I even taste it, although my jar might be too old. OK. I'll come clean. My container of nutmeg is probably 30 years old. Of course it's flavorless! I'll buy some this week. ;)

      Delete

I may not answer your comments in a timely fashion, but I always answer. Check back soon!