Thursday, May 7, 2015

Weeknight Bolognese

I recently came across this weeknight bolognese recipe while looking through my stack of cookbooks trying to find something new to make for dinner. Hello Barefoot Contessa! Her cookbooks are the best, especially her "How Easy is That?" cookbook. If you don't have it, you should definitely should. Ryan is always challenging me to use my cookbooks (since I have so many and I keep buying more, oops), but sometimes I just get stuck in the rut of making the same thing or a slightly different version of something I have made before. Although those are all great meals, they can get boring over and over again. At least I think so. Here comes weeknight bolognese to the dinner rut rescue! This dish takes about thirty minutes to make from start to finish, yet your family or friends will think you spent hours making it. Trust me here. It's that good. This dish starts off with browning ground beef (simple, right?) and then adding in garlic, oregano, and wine to get all those brown bits off the bottom of the pan. Still simple, right? Don't let those brown bits go to waste! You'll then stir in tomatoes and tomato paste and let simmer for just a few minutes. Just don't drink all the wine before you get to making the dish. I know that can happen. And no, I did not do that. At least not this time.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a pot of water to boil (with plenty of salt - just think salty like the ocean!) so that you can cook your noodles while you finish the bolognese. Once the mixture has simmered and the flavors have started to come together, add a splash of cream, a little more wine and fresh chopped basil to the sauce. Let the sauce simmer a little more while the pasta finishes cooking and then toss both the sauce and the pasta together. Oh, and don't forget to mix in some fresh parmi cheese too. That totally makes the dish. Not that it wasn't amazing before. This just makes it that much better. I promise.

The best part about this 30 minute meal is that you can make this any day of the week. Just because it says "weeknight", doesn't mean you can't make it on the weekend. Just saying. I have been known to make this during the week and on the weekend. I've made it for just Ryan and I and I've made it for family and friends when they come over. It's so versatile! Serve this pasta dish with a simple salad and big glass of red wine and you are good to go. Simple. Easy. Delicious. Keep this recipe in your back pocket for those times when you need a quick and easy, super yummy dish in under 30 minutes!

I bet you wish the screen was scratch and sniff.

Weeknight Bolognese (Barefoot Contessa)

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean ground beef 
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. dried oregano
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 tbsp. kosher salt
1½ tsp. ground black pepper
1 lb. dried pasta (I love
Pinch of ground nutmeg
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
¼ cup heavy cream
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving!

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Crumble the ground meat into the pan.  Cook until no longer pink and starting to brown, 5-7 minutes.  Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add 1 cup of the wine to the pan and stir, scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and let 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 ¼ 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 ½ cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.
So easy. So delicious. How easy was that?!

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