Everyday Bolognese

This weekend was my oldest’s birthday. Therefore, my Le Cordon Bleu lessons must take a back seat. With all the preparations, of which I really had little input due to other obligations, I was required to cook a meal before the big deal. It is one of my favorites and a standard in our household. And, the only thing I have to cut is the garlic! What more can you ask for in an everyday meal?

As you can see above, there is one knife for cutting the garlic and that is it. I am still really working on my photography. All the pictures were taken after the sun went down. We have a lot of light in our kitchen if I cook and take pics in while there is sunlight. It definitely makes for much better photography. But, living and learning is what we do. Therefore, I will press on.

The key to the recipe in my opinion is the wine. Making a bolognese without red wine in it seems almost like sacrilege. The other key is that I leave all the fat in the pan after browning the meat. I know my cardiologist won’t like me saying that, but when it comes to the taste of my bolognese the fat must stay!

Here’s the Recipe, enjoy:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 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
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Dried pasta, as much as you need (I used penne but like to use orecchiette)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 4 teaspoons dried basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese (more if you want to add some on the plate)

How I do it:

So, I always tend to forget things. Put your water on to boil for the noodles. You can always turn it down a bit if you need to wait to put the noodles in. I add some salt and a bit of oil to the pasta water.

Throw down 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumble the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has started to brown.

Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute (remember, I don’t drain the fat before adding the previous ingredients). Pour 1 cup of 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. Stir it up until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for, oh, 10 minutes.

Cook the pasta now according to how you like it or what the package says.

While the pasta cooks, add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. 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. Now, there is way too much sauce for our small family. Therefore we don’t add the entire amount of sauce but only as much for the noodles we cooked and save the rest for another two meals. Bonus!

Happy cooking!

Music to inspire your cooking comes from composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco: