Ok, so maybe this isn’t the best recipe to post the week after Thanksgiving since we’re all pretty much fooded out, but I’m posting it now because I know there are a lot of you who love and need easy family approved weeknight dinners. December is all about indulgence to me, so let’s go ahead and indulge, celebrate and eat to our hearts content! Doesn’t that sound fun? This is the perfect bolognese for those busy weeknights, as it only takes 45 minutes to pull together, and the sauce tastes like a sauce that’s been cooking on your stove top all day, not for just 30 minutes. The orecchiette pasta is perfect because it really holds the sauce in those little pockets. I’ve tried this sauce with regular spaghetti and it was good, but we prefer it the orecchiette pasta.
This is a great pasta to serve up if you’re entertaining friends because it feeds a crowd, especially if you pair the pasta with some crispy garlic bread and a caesar salad. When I make this pasta up for just the 4 of us, we have pasta for 2 nights, which is great because you all know how I love two-nighter meals. I just re-heat the leftover pasta in my cast iron skillet, and it tastes amazing! It’s actually a bit better the next night as all the flavors really have a chance to gel. You do want to make sure to use a robust wine for this recipe, as the wine really brings out the flavors in the sauce. Also, make sure you add that last 1/4 cup of wine at the end because it truly makes the sauce.
recipe from Barefoot’s How Easy is That
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound lean grass-fed ground beef or ground buffalo meat – I used a lean grass-fed beef the first time I made this up and buffalo another time. Both were good, but I will admit the beef had a bit more flavor.
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic (roughly 5 cloves)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided – I suggest using a Chianti or a Cabernet. I used a Cabernet and it was amazing, so rich in flavor.
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano, or a 24-ounce BPA free box of San Marzano tomatoes – I used the 24-ounce BPA-free box of San Marzao tomatoes, and it’s the same as using a 28-ounce can.
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons fine kosher salt - Note: Barefoot’s recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of salt, but I thought that was a bit too much, so I added 1 teaspoon and then another 1/2 teaspoon later at the end. It’s all an individal preference here, but if you start with too much salt and then don’t like the sauce, then you’re not going to be a happy camper.
- freshly ground black pepper
- 1 box dried orecchiette pasta
- 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
Let’s prep the ingredients. Bring a large pot of well salted water to a boil. Mince your garlic cloves, pour 1 cup of wine and measure out the tomato paste, spices and salt.
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large (12-inch) skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat browns, about 5 -7 minutes. I have to say that ground meat does not make for pretty photos!
Bring the sauce to a boil.
While the sauce simmers, rinse and chop your basil, measure out 1/4 cup of red wine as well as 1/4 cup heavy cream.
Meanwhile, add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to the directions on the box. Orecchiette pasta usually takes 11 minutes to cook.
While the pasta cooks, let’s finish off the sauce.
Add the 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/4 cup chopped basil, 1/4 cup heavy cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Your sauce may not get super thick, but will thicken a bit. It’s not the prettiest sauce, but it tastes great!
Add the sauce to the pasta along with the 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well.