Leave it to the Contessa to create something my picky child, Coco, likes. Growing up, my mom made something she liked to call “goulash”. So, for my formative years I thought goulash was wide egg noodles, mixed with hamburger, tomato sauce and italian seasoning. Oh, and how can I forget the cheddar cheese on top. We had this meal at least once a week and I quite enjoyed it. I tried to keep the “goulash” tradition going with my own children, but they don’t particularly care for it, especially Coco. So one night, I decided to make Ina Garten’s weeknight bolognese (which has basically all the same ingredients as my mom’s goulash, it’s just a little fancier) and they adored it, especially Coco. It is pretty darn good I must say.
So, here is my adaption of Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese from Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That :
Weeknight Bolognese – adapted from Ina Garten
- 1 pound ground beef
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 T. dried oregano
- 1 1/4 cups red wine, divided (I don not usually use the whole amount)
- 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes, Ina prefers San Marzano
- 2 T. tomato paste
- Kosher salt/ pepper
- 1 pound orecchiette pasta (the one that looks like little ears)
- 1/4 t. ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup heavy cream or half-and-half
- 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated plus more for serving
- 1/4 t. red pepper flakes (I usually leave out)
- Cook the pasta per the directions on the box with a little olive oil added to the water.
- Brown the hamburger and then stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper and cook a minute longer.
- Pour in one cup of the wine scraping up any brown bits of meat.
- Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 T. salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
- Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes on a lower heat.
- Then add the nutmeg, basil, cream and the remaining 1/4 cup of wine. Simmer for another 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is thickened.
- Add the pasta and parmesan to the sauce and mix well. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.
- FYI – I have a family of hearty eaters, so I typically double this recipe (just be careful with the salt if you do this- Ina likes a lot of salt).