Monday, October 8, 2012

Barefoot Contessa's Bolognese

Making Bolognese can be a long, arduous process requiring hours of reducing, simmering and stirring -- but this is the quickest ragu or bolognese recipe I've come across. I'm not going to lie, it isn't going to be a speedy kitchen endeavor. Ina calls her recipe "Weeknight Bolognese" but as you can see from my title, I omitted "weeknight" as the only thing I'm doing on a weeknight is reheating! Mrs. Garten suggests 45 minutes total prep and cooking time whereas it took me a good hour and half.  But it's easy and totally worth it and the red wine in the sauce makes it taste like it's been simmering all day. The recipe serves 5-6 people so it's perfect for a Sunday family meal or even an intimate dinner party.  Here's the recipe:
  • 2 Tbsp good olive oil, plus extra to add to pasta water
  • 1 lb. lean ground sirloin (I bought grass fed, 93% lean at Whole Foods)
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 Tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cup dry red wine, divided
  • 1 28 0z. can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano (Trader Joe's carries Cento brand)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • 1 lb dried pasta, such as orecchiette or shells to hold up to the thick sauce
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshy grated Paremesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5-7 minutes, until the meat loses it's pink color and turns brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and cook for another minute. Pour 1 cup of wine into the skillet and then add the canned tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 Tbsp salt and 1 1/2 Tsp ground pepper stirring until combined. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat, simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, splash of oil and the pasta and cook until desired doneness. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce: Add the cream and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for another 8-10 minutes.  Stir the sauce occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain it and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and stir in the 1/2 cup of parm.  Add basil to individual portions and have some parm on the table. One can never have too much parm!  Guess what I'm eating all week?



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