Weeknight Bolognese


Happy Tuesday to you.  Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight, of course you are unless you like to read me write about the endless attributes of coffee saving me during the day, which is ok too.

Well, tonight’s recipe for a bolognese sauce over a orecchiette pasta has become my favorite bolognese sauce recipes, its soooooooooo good, and of course its sooooooo easy! You can take that jar of Prego that you were reaching for and put it back into the deep recess of your refrigerator where it belongs! After you make this, you will never want to use that again, you can do this, your taste palate just got upgraded! If you’re wondering what the heck is bolognese sauce, good question, it will be tonights dinner party trivia.

Bolognese sauce is a meat-based sauce originating from Bologna, Italy, hence the name. Genuine ragù alla bolognese is a slowly cooked sauce, and its preparation involves several techniques, including sweating, sautéing and braising. Ingredients include a characteristic soffritto of onion, celery and carrot, different types of minced or finely chopped beef, often alongside small amounts of fatty pork. White wine, milk, and a small amount of tomato concentrate or tomatoes are added, and the dish is then gently simmered at length to produce a thick sauce.

Ok, so that sounds lovely but a bit taxing and technically challenging, anytime I read that I will be sweating in the kitchen I feel exhausted and makes me reach for that jar of Prego.

Think of tonights recipe as maybe the Cliff Notes or Recipe for Dummy’s version of the genuine bolognese sauce recipe. It has all of the highlights of the genuine, but not all of the time and sweating involved. Sound good, you will love this, its almost like eating a lasagna sauce, so rich, a bit cheesy, garlicky, tomatoey, thick loveliness over an al dente orecchiette pasta. Pure magic baby.

Give it a try, you will be impressed with how good of a cook you are. Thanks as always for reading and have a great new day.


  • 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 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 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 the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. 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, 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 to 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.


2 Comments Add yours

    1. Erik Johnson says:

      Thank you so much, it was awesome.


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