Thursday, August 11, 2011


I try to aim for simple when creating dinner ideas, however sometimes this does compromise the flavor. Some things just taste better with more preparation. Our family loves pasta, as I am sure you have noticed if you have looked over this blog. I especially have a deep obssession with it.

Growing up we did not have a lot of pasta. My dad was never a noodle guy. The only pasta dishes I remember my mom cooking was spaghetti. Who does not love spaghetti, right? Well, I have been following a food blog that brings a new light to the traditional meat spaghetti.

Katie at GoodlifeEats created an amazing recipe for Bolognese. It is hearty, rich, flavorful and well-worth the extra preparation time.

Bolognese by definition is a sauce for pasta containing mushrooms, ham, vegetables and beef. Katie's recipe contains everything except for the ham.

I follow her recipe almost exactly, with only a few minor changes or additions.


2/3 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2/3 cup water
1 1/4 cup sweet white wine (Riesling or White Zinfandel) or apple juice
1 carrot, peeled and chopped roughly
1 small yellow onion, chopped - or a shallot if I have one on hand
1 stalk celery, chopped
5 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes or fresh roma tomatoes (peeled and run through the food processor)
1 1/2 Tbs butter
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
1 lb. lean ground beef
1 1/2 cup skim milk
3 Tbs tomato paste
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped in strips
1 lb. spaghetti, cooked according to package instructions
freshly grated Parmesan for serving

(These directions came start from Katie's Pasta Bolognese at GoodlifeEats.)

Rinse the dried mushrooms under water in a small strainer and drain. Add the mushrooms and water to a small microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, cut steam vents in the plastic with a knife and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Allow mushrooms to stand for about 5 minutes, or until soft. Remove mushrooms from liquid (reserving the liquid) and set aside.

Bring wine or apple juice to a simmer in a skillet over medium heat; reduce heat to low and simmer until wine has reduced to 1/4 cup, about 20 minutes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, chop the mushrooms in a food processor until broken down into 1/8 inch pieces. Add carrot, onion and celery and pulse until the vegetables are 1/8 inch pieces and mushrooms are well ground – scraping the sides.

Heat butter in a 12 inch skillet over medium-high heat. When the foaming subsides, add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring often, for about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sugar, cooking for an additional 30 seconds. Add the meat, breaking into 1 inch pieces, about 1 minute. Pour the milk into the pan while stirring meat and breaking into 1/2 inch pieces. Reduce heat to medium, continuing to simmer, while stirring to break up the meat into small pieces and until most of the liquid has evaporated and the meat begins to sizzle, about 18 minutes. Add tomato paste and stir till combined, about 1 minute.

Stir in the tomatoes, reserved liquid from the mushrooms, oregano, salt, and pepper. Bring sauce to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 12-15 minutes. Liquid should be reduced and the sauce should be thick, but still moist. Stir in the wine, spinach, basil and parsley and simmer an additional 5 minutes.

Plate pasta and sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

Great served with a side salad. Enjoy!