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Weeknight Rigatoni Bolognese

Active Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Dairy Free
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Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

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Why we love it:

If you want to turn this into a Sunday Supper Italian Grandma Bolognese, just let it simmer for 3 hours. That’s really it! The flavors develop more depth, but we love this quick fresh version, too. This a great recipe to double, then freeze half of the sauce for another meal!

Ingredients

  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 rib Celery
  • 3 cloves Garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt (divided)
  • 1 pound Ground Beef
  • 12 cup White Wine (optional)
  • 1 28-ounce can Crushed Tomatoes (or diced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Oregano
  • 12 cup Heavy Cream (or milk, optional)
  • 1 pound Rigatoni Pasta
  • 5 cups Spring Mix Salad Greens
  • 4 Tablespoons Salad Dressing
  • 12 cup Parmesan Cheese (optional, to taste)

Cooking Instructions

  • 1. DICE VEGGIES

    Finely dice the onion, carrot, celery, and mince the garlic.

  • 2. SAUTÉ

    Heat a heavy pot with a wide bottom, over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and the veggies. Add a teaspoon of kosher salt and sauté for 5 minutes.

  • 3. MEAT

    Add the ground beef to the pan and break it up while you sauté it for about 6 minutes or until it’s all browned. Continue cooking and breaking up into small pieces. You may prefer to use a potato masher or just keep working it with a wooden spoon.

  • 4. TOMATOES

    If using, add the wine. Then add the tomatoes, and dried oregano. Turn the heat to high and cover it. Bring it to a steady simmer. Once simmering, stir well and uncover the pot. Turn heat down to medium and it should retain a slow, gentle simmer this way.

    Cook for 10 - 20 minutes. If you have longer, by all means, simmer for up to 75 minutes.
    If using cream - like some of Italy does - you can stir that in for the last 5 minutes or so to simmer. It doesn’t freeze as well this way, so omit if planning to freeze.

  • 5. PASTA

    Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain. You can either toss the pasta with a drizzle of olive oil then plate the sauce on top - or toss the pasta into the sauce to get it nicely coated.

  • 6. SALAD

    Wash and dry lettuce. Toss with dressing.

  • 7. SERVING

    Serve pasta with a simple side salad. Garnish with parmesan cheese to taste.

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Substitutions

  • GLUTEN FREE:
    use GF pasta or serve over zucchini noodles or polenta
  • DAIRY FREE:
    omit the cream and cheese
  • CREAM/DAIRY:
    totally optional, omit without adding anything else
  • BEEF:
    ground turkey and chicken are a dream here!
  • WINE:
    totally optional, omit without adding anything else

Kid Friendly Version

Big Kids Plate
Toddler Plate

How to Tweak This Recipe for Kids:

  • Before sautéing the beef, form a little meatball or small slider-sized patty, then serve their pasta without bolognese

For Toddlers

  • Chop the rigatoni into smaller pieces or select a different pasta shape if needed
  • Add fruit and veggies of choice

For Choosy Eaters

  • Easy enough to serve buttered pasta with parmesan cheese if they’re choosy
  • Serve with chopped veggies or fruit that will be accepted
  • Let them try a little sauce, or even remove a scoop of beef before you add tomatoes and see if they’ll try that

Prep Ahead & Use It Up

Make bolo entirely, tastes amazing up to 6 days later. Or freeze for up to 4 – 6 months

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