weeknight bolognese

did you know that christmas is sunday?!?

i didn’t realize it was so close until last week! and that my friends sent me into a minor tailspin…

you see i’m usually pretty organized and to realize that christmas was only a week away and i hadn’t even begun my christmas shopping was a problem. this meant that i only had a week to get everything bought and wrapped. oh geez. but i’m slowing getting it done.

all this last minuteness means that i want something comforting to eat right about now. by comforting i mean some warm and rich and not necessarily dessert. weird right? normally i would be screaming for chocolate or ice cream or cookies or something… but what’s more comforting than pasta? when you think comfort food, i’m sure mac and cheese pop up in that thought process. well this isn’t mac and cheese but there is pasta and there is cheese. oh and there’s wine. and not just like a splash of wine. a whole cup of wine. so let’s recap a little of what’s in the recipe that makes it so good before we talk about how good it is… there’s pasta. there’s cheese. there’s beef. there’s wine. there’s heavy cream.

yeah the mix of those things makes this bolognese delicious. the recipe is from ina garten‘s how easy is that? cookbook. you know… the one where this wonderful thing came from. and once again, ina hit it out of the park! i was looking for a comforting bowl of pasta and oh did she deliver. this bolognese is warm and comforting. kinda like being wrapped up in a hug on a weeknight. and that’s part of the official ina title for this recipe. “weeknight bolognese”. she intends for you to be able to pull it all together on a weeknight. and you can! there’s not a lot of chopping and major prep work so it really is easy.

ina’s weeknight bolognese

  • 2 tbs good olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground sirloin
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tbs dried oregano – which for the record i didn’t have… see i ran out and everytime i see it in a recipe i don’t write it on my list because i think i have it. it’s on the list now. oh and i just subbed with some italian seasoning i did have.
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes – you can go heavier or lighter depending on the heat level you like
  • 1 1/4 c dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbs tomato paste – i highly recommend buying some in a tube so you don’t waste an entire can but it is pricy
  • salt
  • ground black pepper
  • 3/4 lb dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells – i used some of giada’s pasta from target because it was perfect for grabbing hold of the sauce… seriously girl knows how to make a good pasta shape
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 c chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 c heavy cream
  • 1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  1. heat olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown. stir in the garlic, oregano (or italian seasoning), 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 tbs salt, and 1 1/2 tsp pepper, stirring until combined. bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

a nice piece of garlic bread goes well with this too.

you really should try it when you’re looking for something comforting and easy on a weeknight.



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