Monday, May 3, 2010

Tuesday: Savory Spaghetti Bolognese

 A few years ago, I was on the hunt for the perfect spaghetti bolognese (meat sauce). I had sampled several delicious pasta bolognese in Italy and wanted something that was just as good if not better! So, after tasting and cooking probably at least 30 different recipes, I finally concocted and tweaked a sauce that I am satisfied with and I think you will be too!  It's even got a few veggies in it. :) To make it a little healthier, I omitted a lot of the oil from the recipe, and did half turkey half beef instead of all beef. If you or your husband like beef though, go for the beef!
The best part is, if you have leftovers, this sauce freezes well. Serve with fresh bread and spinach salad. YUM!

Bolognese Recipe
6-8 servings

  1/4 cup pancetta, chopped (see below what it is and where you can buy it)
  1 onion, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

2 ribs of celery, finely chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lb ground beef (lean) 
1 lb ground turkey breast
3 8oz cans tomato paste (when a recipe calls for a 28 oz can of tomato puree, just buy tomato paste cans instead and add 4 empty cans of water. It will save you $ and it's just as good)
4 empty tomato paste cans of water

1. Spray a large, heavy pot (like a dutch oven) with cooking spray, and heat over medium-low heat. Once pot is warm, add the pancetta. Cook for about 5 minutes until the fat is rendered. 
 2. Increase heat to medium, and add onion, carrot and celery. Cooking, stirring for about 8 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 more minute. 
 3. Increase heat to medium-high heat and add the beef and turkey, 1 LB at a time, until no longer pink, about 8 minutes. 
4. Stir in tomato paste and 4 empty cans of water. Season with salt and bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat, partially covered for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
5. Pour sauce over whole wheat spaghetti (that is cooked el dente...6-7 minutes). Tip: If your spaghetti tends to stick together after you drain it, pour 1 tsp olive oil over spaghetti and mix it around. This will also prevent the leftover spaghetti from sticking together after you refrigerate it.

Plan and Prep Ahead

Here are some helpful techniques to make life a little easier once dinner time hits. These tips will especially help those that work full-time and don't have a lot of time to prepare dinner.

~Chop veggies ahead of time and refrigerate in air tight container.
~You can make the whole sauce ahead of time, refrigerate it, and then warm it up when ready to use. 


Who likes to CHANGE IT UP?

~Replace ground pork or chicken for beef and turkey.
~Use bacon instead of pancetta.

What is Pancetta?

It's an Italian bacon that is cured with salt, pepper and other spices. It's NOT smoked. English or American bacon is taken from the sides and belly of the pig, may be smoked and then cut into slices. Pancetta comes from the pigs belly, and is salt-cured. I've probably grossed you out now, haven't I? :)
Check out your local grocery store, to see if they carry pancetta. If not, check out a Italian market in your area or of course you can buy it online right here on Amazon. Seriously, what doesn't Amazon carry?

Volpi Pre-Sliced Pancetta - 4 oz 

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