Monday, October 5, 2009

Comfort Food: Italian Style

Quick Bolognese Sauce and Whole Wheat Spaghetti

Long day? Ready for something hearty and delicious on a cold, dreary evening? Traditional Bolognese can be quite a lengthy affair requiring hours of stove top cook time. It
yields a rich, flavorful sauce . . . but there is a time and a place for everything! This recipe delivers on the flavor in less than a hour and is perfect for weeknight dinners with a nice glass of red wine . . . the bottle is already open anyway!

I like things pretty spicy and use hot Italian sausage and very generous amounts of pepper flakes in the dish! If you prefer a milder taste, ease off on the pepper flakes and substitute the spicy sausage for a sweet variety.

- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- large yellow onion, peeled and finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 lb. hot Italian pork sausage removed from casings
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1-2 tsp, crushed red pepper flakes
- sea salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1/2 c. dry red wine
- 1 28 oz. can diced tomatoes w/ juices
- 1/3 c. heavy cream, room temperature
- a generous handful of chopped Italian parsley
- 8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
- 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion and sauté 3-4 minutes. Add carrot and cook until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add sausage, garlic, and pepper flakes to pot, cook and stir 3-4 minutes breaking up sausage as it cooks with a wooden spoon. Cook until meat is light brown, but not yet cooked completely through. Add tomato paste and wine and stir into mixture. Simmer about 2 minutes to reduce liquid. Add tomatoes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 30 minutes for sauce to thicken. Remove from heat and add cream and parsley, stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. While sauce simmers, boil pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta, reserving some cooking liquid. Add pasta to sauce and toss to combine. Add some of the pasta cooking water if the sauce is too thick. Divide pasta among plates and top with Parmesan cheese. Serve and enjoy the tastiness!

Serves 4

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