Monday, August 22, 2011

Barefoot Contessa Weeknight Bolognese

Here is a classic Italian dish that the Barefoot Contessa transformed into a simple, quick and delicious dinner. Bolognese is a rich beef sauce slowly cooked with a vibrant, dry red wine and towards the end a luscious serving of heavy creamy is added. This is a rich and hearty meal. While the Barefoot Contessa tweaked it to make it doable during a weeknight, I tweaked it to my own likings. Anyone can use ground sirloin but using completely grass fed beef kicked this meal up a whole other level. The beef was so rich and tender, it almost tasted like butter in my mouth. My sauce may not look very rich and creamy because I refused to buy heavy cream just for 1 meal. That is something we don’t consume unless I’m making a very decadent dessert. I opted to use some organic milk instead to round it out slightly. I did make sure not the skimp on the red wine. That is what made this meal a winner!


Weeknight Bolognese
Adapted from
Barefoot Contessa

1 tablespoon good olive oil
1 pound 100% grass fed ground beef
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided (umm make sure you have a glass for yourself!)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound dried pasta, rigatoni or penne was my choice
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
Splash of milk
1/2 cup freshly ground parmesan cheese
4-5 tablespoons whole milk ricotta cheese

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef 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 the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.

Okay so 2 glasses.. one for me and one for Mike!

I’m not a huge cab fan, but this was delicious for a budget friendly wine.

Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 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, a splash of oil and the pasta. Cook according to the box directions, making sure the pasta is al dente.

The best pasta!

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the basil, cream and remaining wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into the large serving bowl. Add the sauce and parmesan cheese and toss well. Serve hot with a tablespoon of whole milk ricotta cheese on top.


Along with our bolognese I roasted up some broccoli with salt, pepper and olive oil. I always like to bulk up on a vegetable and use less pasta. I like when I can get best of both worlds!


Hers! Oh yes.. the ricotta was dreamy in this dish. We ate at Spago
almost 3 years ago and we both ordered the bolognese and it had
the creamiest ricotta cheese on top. Totally brought back those
memories with this dish.

Make this for your family or loved ones because it is absolutely delicious. I’m sure the heavy cream would of made the dish extra special but honestly we didn’t miss it. I also didn’t have nutmeg on hand and I wish I did because that always adds a nice flavor. I ended up topping our pasta with some whole milk ricotta cheese instead and let the warm sauce melt it into our pasta. Now that is delicious!

Buon Appetito,


Lisa~~ said...

A good Bolognese recipe is essential in out home, a real favorite and go-to meal for us.

Cook Lisa Cook

Fallon said...

This was my first time making a bolognese sauce.. Usually if I'm out at a nice Italian place and see it on the menu I'm down. But living with a guy who loves his meat! I tried something new. He loved it a lot so I wouldn't mind making this more often now. It was just like comfort food!

Chelle B said...

I have not made bolognese before and need to give this a try now for dinner. From the sounds of this it's a man friendly meal as well and that makes it a must try. Perfect comfort food and reminds me of my mama.