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Weeknight Bolognese

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.

weeknight bolognese

Weeknight Bolognese Ummm! Ummm! Good!


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)

Cooking Directions:

  1. Cook the pasta per the directions on the box with a little olive oil added to the water.
  2. Brown the hamburger and then stir in the garlic, oregano and red pepper and cook a minute longer.
  3. Pour in one cup of the wine scraping up any brown bits of meat.
  4. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 T. salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine.
  5. Bring to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes on a lower heat.
  6. 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.
  7. Add the pasta and parmesan to the sauce and mix well. Serve with parmesan sprinkled on top.
  8. 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).

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • architect mom May 6, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Thank you first commenter!

  • kathie S May 5, 2011, 10:01 pm

    What a beautiful site! I am trying your Bolognese tomorrow.

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