One of the (few) drawbacks of being single is that you tend to stick to a selection of meals built for one. Combined with an assortment of local take-out menus, that repertoire of easy meals goes a long way.
But for us foodies at heart, there is always the Wish List of recipes we can’t wait to make for friends or special occasions. One of mine has been Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese.
I am an ardent fan of Ina Garten — her show, her menus, her style. I swear by her recipes! They’re my go-to source if I want to know how to cook anything as yummily as possible. And this bolognese recipe is no exception.
Plan to spend about a half hour on prep and another 30-45 minutes on cook time. I added the tomato paste with the wine and let it cook together a bit before adding the tomatoes — for an extra layer of flavor. I skipped the heavy cream and didn’t miss it, but don’t skimp on the pasta or parmesan, this is a five-star recipe that deserves the best ingredients. I prefer fettuccine, so feel free to experiment!
2 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta
1 pound lean ground sirloin
4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
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, such as orecchiette or small shells
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
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
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.
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Weekend Bolognese recipe ©Ina Garten.