Thursday, January 10, 2013

Weeknight Bolognese

I happened to have the Food Network on while Gerry and I had lunch yesterday.  The episode we watched was the Barefoot Contessa making a weeknight Bolognese and Gerry requested that I put it on this week's menu.  Since he so rarely requests something, I decided to go with his choice for tonight.  Ina's recipe is wonderful, it is hearty and flavorful without being too heavy.  The sauce is made with ground sirloin, garlic, dried oregano, crushed red pepper and red wine.  Of course, it has crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and salt and pepper.  It is finally finished with basil, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese.  I rounded out the sauce by letting the cooked pasta shells finish cooking in the sauce.  I simply garnished with a little more grated Parmesan cheese.

Weeknight Bolognese
Makes 4-5 servings

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 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 wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon 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 cook according to the directions on the package.

While the past cooks, finish the sauce.  Ad the basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the suce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and add it to the sauce to allow to heat together.  Add 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.  Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa

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