Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Ina's Weeknight Bolognese

I have to confess:  Ina is my new best friend, or obsession, whatever you want to call it.  I love Ina Garten and can read her cookbooks like novels.  Her beautiful pictures.  Her comments about each recipe.  In the last year, I have read 4 and am already stalking the next one(s!) I want!  I have tried a handful of recipes from each book, and she has never disappointed.  So, I shall share a few from my recent Ina-adventures; this being the first.

A friend who enjoys cooking almost as much as me said this is one of her and her husband's favorites.  A good bowl of spaghetti is always comforting.  But, this according to my friend, "is as close to a bowl of pasta from Italy as I have tasted since Italy."  That review of an Ina recipe was all the reason I needed to try this one!   And now I recommend it to you!  (from Ina Garten's How Easy Is That? cookbook)

- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb lean ground sirloin
- 4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
- 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3/4 lb dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large (12 in) skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with wooden spoon, for 5-7 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 any browned bits.  Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tbsp salt, and 1 1/2 tsp 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 tbsp of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce.  Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened.  When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl.  Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.  Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

Wonderful!  Absolutely wonderful!  
   It serves as a great change from the American spaghetti supper, not to replace but adds to the meal rotation in a deliciously Italian way.  Double and freeze half for later.  You'll not be sorry!

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