Food Hero

‘Doctored’ Bolognese Sauce by Rachelle
August 25, 2008, 5:51 pm
Filed under: Italian, Main Dish, quick fix, Rachelle Mee-Chapman | Tags: , , ,

Created by: Rachelle

One of my favorite instances of cooking alchemy is when I make something from whatever I have on hand and it actually turns out delicious. This week we got a little magic in the kitchen by doing what my mother calls ‘doctoring up’ a couple jars of red sauce. Viola! Rich, satisfying Bolognese sauce. The classic red sauce base made it a hit with the kids, and the savory olives, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of white-pepper-kick made it a win for the grownups as well. I thought we would be disappointed with just hamburger instead of Italian sausage, but the ground beef actually gave it a satisfying meaty flavor. (So much for being food snobs!) You can whip this up for dinner in about 30 minutes. It serves at least 6.

Shopping List
olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 -1 ½ pounds lean ground beef
coarse salt to taste
2-3 tsp white pepper (white pepper is key in Italian cooking)
2 jars of good quality pasta sauce (I like Seeds of Change or Amy’s Organic)
2 2-3 inch springs of fresh rosemary, stripped off the woody stems and chopped slightly
1 dozen kalamata olives (we can only find the un-pitted variety in CPH, but people just throw them in the sauce whole and let the dinner guest deal with the pits)
3 glugs of balsamic vinegar
one handful of fresh basil leaves, sliced

cooked pasta (mini penne, or fusilli works well) and cheese as desired.

How to Doctor the Sauce:
In a large skillet sauté ground beef, garlic, salt and pepper in olive oil until browned. Break up ground beef with a spoon as needed. (If you can’t get lean ground beef, you’ll need to drain off the excess fat after this step.)

Add prepared pasta sauce and rosemary; allow to simmer about ten minutes to meld flavors.

Add olives. Simmer some more. Just before serving add balsamic vinegar and basil leaves.

Serve over pasta, top with cheese, and have yum!

Tutorial for Newbie Cooks: How to Chop Basil

Okay, now the basil. Don’t be scared! Pinch the leaves off the stems. It’s a little like plucking a daisy. (”She loves me. She loves me not.”) You only want the leaves. Wash the basil leaves and dry them in a salad spinner. If you dont’ have a spinner, pat them dry between two paper towels, or just shake them off over a sinke and call it done. Stack the leaves on top of each other on a cutting board. There now, isn’t that nice and orderly? Roll ‘em up into a little bundle, and slice lengthwise into thin shreds. Aren’t you the cooking pro? Into the bowl they go. Good job!


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