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Weeknight Bolognese, updated

Photo: Quentin Bacon

  • Good olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
  • ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

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.  Cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat has lost its pink color and has started to brown.  Stir in the garlic, oregano, and hot red pepper flakes and cook for one minute.  Pour the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ 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 and the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce.  Add the nutmeg, basil, and cream to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.  When the pasta is cooked, transfer it with a slotted spoon or sieve to the pan with the sauce, saving the cooking liquid.  Cook for one minute, add the remaining ¼ cup of wine, and cooking liquid, if necessary to make enough sauce.  Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

NOTES:

If you don’t have ground sirloin, substitute any ground meat such as chuck, turkey, or pork.  You can even substitute chopped mushrooms for a vegetarian dinner!

If you don’t have shells, use any dried pasta that you like!

If you don’t have cream or basil, you can leave it out!

Copyright 2010, Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter/Publishers, All Rights Reserved

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