Weeknight Bolognese

Growing up, this is what my family referred to as “spaghetti.”  Somewhere in the eighties, we learned that spaghetti is actually the type of pasta, and the thick, Italian meat sauce we favored was called Bolognese.  But the picture above is what we meant when we said we were having spaghetti for dinner.  This recipe was awesome.  It did not take hours to make, yet the flavor was rich and hearty – exactly what I remembered from my childhood when my mother used to make her own spaghetti meat sauce (which was most likely from an old Betty Crocker cookbook).  I found this recipe at Ezra Pound Cake.  I followed it exactly, but in my opinion, the little bit of cream was unnecessary and parmesan sprinkled on top of each serving is sufficient.  I will definitely be making this recipe again.

Weeknight Bolognese

Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa How Easy Is That?”

Makes 4 to 5 servings

  • 2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
  • 1 POUND LEAN GROUND SIRLOIN
  • 4 TEASPOONS MINCED GARLIC (4 CLOVES)
  • 1 TABLESPOON DRIED OREGANO
  • 1/4 TEASPOON CRUSHED RED PEPPER FLAKES
  • 3/4 TO 1 1/4 CUPS DRY RED WINE, DIVIDED
  • 1 (28-OUNCE) CAN CRUSHED TOMATOES, PREFERABLY SAN MARZANO
  • 2 TABLESPOONS TOMATO PASTE
  • KOSHER SALT AND FRESHLY GROUND BLACK PEPPER
  • 3/4 POUND DRIED PASTA, LIKE MEDIUM SHELLS OR ORECCHIETTE
  • 1/4 CUP CHOPPED FRESH BASIL LEAVES, LIGHTLY PACKED
  • 1/4 CUP HEAVY CREAM
  • 1/2 CUP FRESHLY GRATED PARMESAN CHEESE, PLUS EXTRA FOR SERVING
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet or round Dutch oven 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.
  2. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes, and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Save 1/4 cup of the wine to finish the sauce, and pour the rest in now.
  4. Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add 1 teaspoon of salt, and cook the pasta, according to the instructions on the package.
  7. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the remaining 1/4 cup of wine, the basil and the cream. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.
  8. When the pasta is done, drain and pour it into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan. Toss well. Serve hot with extra Parmesan on the table.
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