Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese

I made this sauce around Halloween time because it sounded good, easy, and worked with our schedule of many activities. I was able to make the sauce one night while baking that night’s dinner. This way, we had easy sauce ready to go with some pasta. We ended up having enough for a few nights because this made a lot of sauce and we don’t go nuts with our sauce. I opted out of adding the Parmesan and basil to the sauce directly, until I was ready to serve. I also had some without and didn’t miss it. We liked how the sauce was rich in flavor from the beef and wine, but was still a bit sweet from the tomatoes. And, because you use crushed tomatoes, there is no blending needed so you could make this while a baby was sleeping! (That means I am saving this for future meals, too.)

I know, no pictures of it on pasta. Even with all of those times we ate it, I apparently kept forgetting. But trust me, it will look good on any kind of pasta.
And on a side note, I ran out of red wine for this recipe. I only had about half of it, so I ended up using some white wine and it still worked. Amazing.
Directions for Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese
Adapted from Ina Garten via Playing with Flour
  • Oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1.25 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • Chopped basil, to serve
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the ground beef, browning it and cooking it while breaking it up.

When the moisture evaporates and it begins to brown, add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add 1 cup of the wine, scraping up any browned bits.

Next, add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1.5 teaspoons ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

If you’re not making this ahead, start boiling water for pasta. After the sauce is done simmering, add the nutmeg, milk, and remaining 1/4 cup red wine. Simmer for another 8-10 minutes.

If making ahead, stop at this point. Otherwise, serve the sauce with the pasta. You can stir in some basil and Parmesan into the sauce first, or serve it on top.

Directions for Ina’s Weeknight Bolognese (without pictures)
Adapted from Ina Garten via Playing with Flour
  • Oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • Red pepper flakes (to taste)
  • 1.25 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pound dried pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup milk or cream
  • Chopped basil, to serve
  • Grated Parmesan cheese, to serve

Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven or other large pot. Add the ground beef, browning it and cooking it while breaking it up. When the moisture evaporates and it begins to brown, add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add 1 cup of the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Next, add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1.5 teaspoons ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.

If you’re not making this ahead, start boiling water for pasta. After the sauce is done simmering, add the nutmeg, milk, and remaining 1/4 cup red wine. Simmer for another 8-10 minutes. If making ahead, stop at this point. Otherwise, serve the sauce with the pasta. You can stir in some basil and Parmesan into the sauce first, or serve it on top.

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