My Girl

I’m kind of obsessed with Ina Garten.

Her recipes are delightfully simple, easy to execute and impossibly irresistible.

My close-to-complete collection of her cookbooks has long provided me with culinary inspiration.

A flip through the food-garnished pages of the books make me want to throw on my apron and immediately start cooking.

Although I like switching up my recipe sources, I have a running list of Ina recipes that I can’t wait to try.

Most recently crossed off my list was the Weeknight Bolognese recipe from How Easy Is That? I trustingly prepared the dish for the first time for a crowd, and even doubled the recipe. I made a few alterations along the way, but in the end, the recipe yielded nothing but complimentary responses.

My Ina Garten cookbook collection

Turkey sausage simmering with wine

Turkey sausage simmering with crushed tomatoes added

Cream, basil and nutmeg added

Mixing pasta and sauce in a large bowl

Plated and ready to enjoy

Weeknight Bolognese

What You Need

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 lb lean ground sirloin (Instead of beef, I used Jennie-O Lean Hot Italian Turkey Sausage, casings removed)
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic, 4 cloves
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ cups dry red wine, divided (I used 1 cup only)
  • 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste(I used 3 ounces of tomato paste)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¾ lb dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells (I used 1 lb of pasta because I had extra sauce)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

What To Do

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground meat 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. I drained the meat before adding anything else to reduce the fat and liquid.
  2. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined.
  5. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.
  7. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream and the remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Please note – I did not add the extra ¼ cup of wine because my sauce was not reaching desired thickness. I then added additional tomato paste, which helped the sauce thicken.
  8. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and ½ cup Parmesan and toss well.
  9. Serve hot with the Parmesan on the side.
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