Sunday, July 24

Pasta Bolognese

An easy weeknight version of pasta bolognese

Last week was exhausting - from work, to errands, to an unexpected flat tire, my boyfriend and I had little time to relax. We were excited to finally spend Friday night at home, sitting on the couch and watching The Godfather (my first time seeing it). I wanted to create a casual Italian meal to go along with the night's theme, so I chose to make an adaptation of Ina Garten's weeknight bolognese (found in Barefoot Contessa, How Easy is That?). It comes together in thirty minutes and was the perfect comforting, rich meal we deserved after our long week. I love using the small shells instead of linguine or spaghetti, as they act like little cups to hold the sauce and make perfect bites.

Shells & Bolognese:
  • Heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a large skillet.
  • Add 1 lb. lean ground beef* and break up into small pieces.
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes (or until brown) and add 6 minced garlic cloves, 1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves, 1 large pinch of red chili flakes.
  • Add in 1 c. of red wine and loosen any brown bits from the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
  • Add a 28 oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 2 tbsp. tomato paste, salt, and pepper.**
  • Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes.
  • While sauce is simmering, cook 1 package of small pasta shells in a pot of boiling, salted water, according to package directions.
  • Drain pasta, set aside.
  • Once sauce is done, stir in 1/4 c. heavy cream and 1/4 c. fresh basil.
  • Add pasta to the sauce, and toss to combine with 1/2 c. Parmesan cheese.
  • Divide into bowls and serve.

Serves four
*I used a local, grass-fed, ground beef with less than 10% fat. 
**Check seasoning. I found that the sauce needed a fair amount of salt, pepper, and red chili flake.