August 6, 2013

Pasta Bolognese

It's never felt more like the dog days of summer here than it does this week. We're seeing 107 and 108 on the thermometer and I find myself wishing for just one 95 degree day. The craziest thing about this weather? The boys start school in one week! It just doesn't feel right to go back to school when there isn't even a hope of wearing jeans for at least two months.

No getting around it though. School supplies are purchased and the final countdown is on. We're making our last weekday trips to the pool and the wildlife refuge. I'm waffling between giddy excitement at having some time to myself again and abject terror at the idea of my babies in full-time school, away from me all day. The boys are sort of excited, but mostly nonchalant. We will have a morning to go meet the teachers and see the classroom later this week and I think it will suddenly become real for them then.

I'm hoping that I have at least as much courage as they do next Tuesday and make it through the morning without sobbing.

At least in front of them.

All that to get to the point...which is this bolognese. It's adapted from Ina Garten's book The Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? and she calls it a weeknight bolognese. This is one of those lovely meals that will impress company but is quick and easy enough to squeeze in before a weeknight soccer practice. We make this so much during the school year I know the recipe by heart.

A few notes on the ingredients. The wine and the tomatoes matter in this dish. Don't be tempted to use cheap red wine that you wouldn't drink otherwise. It doesn't have to be expensive or fancy, but you should like the taste of it! As for the tomatoes, Ina recommends San Marzano tomatoes and having tried  it both ways I agree with her. The have much more flavor than the regular old can of crushed tomatoes. I made this with speghetti the night I took the picture, but I like it just as well with shells or penne. I switched out the ground beef for turkey, but it tastes fabulous with both.


Pasta Bolognese
adapted from Barefoot Contessa: How Easy Is That? by Ina Garten

1 pound ground turkey
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes (they don't add much heat-don't worry!)
1 1/2 cup red wine
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp salt
1 1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tbsp milk (I like to use almond milk in this) or heavy cream
1/2 cup parmesan

1 box pasta of your choice

Heat the olive oil in a large pan. Cook the ground turkey over medium/high heat until it's brown and crumbled. Stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes until combined. Pour the wine in and deglaze the pan (scraping up anything stuck to the bottom). Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta per the directions on the box.

Go back to the sauce. Add in the chopped basil and the milk or cream and cook for another 2-3 minutes until thickened slightly. Take off the heat and stir in the parmesan. Serve immediately over the pasta. If you'd like, sprinkle a little more parmesan over each serving.

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