Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Penne alla Bolognese

Jason loves meatsauce. It is the one dish he always wants me to make when I ask him what he wants for dinner. It is also one of two things he has the confidence to cook that is not just boiled pasta and  bottled pasta sauce, the other being fried rice. I know, he is very lucky, because I do all the cooking at home.

Anyway, as much as he loves meatsauce, I find that meatsauce is very one-dimensional, and cannot imagine it to be a real meal. It really bothers me that meatsauce has no vegetables, although people argue that the pasta sauce is made of tomatoes, and that's a vegetable. Really, no. Tomatoes are fruits! [Again, this is why many people don't get enough vegetables or fruits in their diets.]

I decided that instead of making meatsauce and feeling all unhealthy eating it, I am going to tweak it slightly and make a meatsauce that has vegetables, yet still tastes like meatsauce. Yes, it is like cooking for children - hiding all the vegetables, yet still needing it in there - exactly like that. :)

P.S. Jason says he loves how the meat in my meatsauce is in small pieces, instead of lumps. The secret is that I mix water into the ground meat prior to frying them. That's so easy!



Ingredients (4-6 servings)
  • 1 lb penne, cooked as per the instructions on the box (I used whole wheat penne.)
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon oregano 
  • [optional] 4-6 basil leaves, chopped
  • [optional] pinch of red pepper flakes
  • [optional] parmesan cheese, for topping


Method
  • Heat a large saucepan.
  • When the pan is hot, add olive oil and minced garlic. Fry the garlic until it is fragrant and almost golden brown.
  • Add onions, and fry until onions are slightly transparent.
  • Add chopped carrots and celery, and fry until the vegetables are almost cooked.


  • Add the ground beef, and fry until the beef is cooked. 
  • When the beef is cooked, add the oregano, basil and red pepper.


  • Add one 15 oz bottle of pasta sauce into the pot, and let the mixture boil.
  • Once the mixture boils, turn off the heat.
  • Scoop some mixture onto some pasta, and toss the pasta to mix with the sauce.
  • Top off the pasta with some freshly grated parmesan cheese.
  • Serve.

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