How can it be Sunday night already? That's what I'm thinking as I'm sitting here trying to be creative and come up with enticing ways to talk about this super delicious and easy pasta dish. Weekends just fly by, don't they? Especially in the summer, probably because we really, really want to hang onto them. All that sunshine, ocean breezes, starry nights filled with fireflies...ok, gotta confess--I'm stalling. Big time! See, I love this Warm Weather Bolognese--it's like a breath of fresh air from all the bbq and salads that seem to be dominating our dinners these days--it's light, comforting without being heavy and easy enough to throw together on a busy weeknight. People love it! It's full of ground beef, juicy grape tomatoes, lemon zest, parmesan cheese and the zing of red pepper flakes. It's a great alternative to the traditional bolognese sauce we all know and love and comes together easily in almost one pot. You should definitely make it! And...that's all I can really think of. When it comes to funny stories about this pasta or tempting tidbits, I'm coming up dry. Think major writer's block! Which is totally not fair to this terrific dish that deserves its share of the rhapsodizing I do over all the other stuff I post on this site. So rather than waste more of your time with this silliness let me just say please, please make this and have fun slurping up every summery bite!!
Warm Weather Bolognese
Prep Time: About 30 minutes
- 1 pound thin spaghetti
- Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1-2 shakes red pepper flakes (use more if you really like things on the spicy side)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- Black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- 1 pound grape or cherry tomatoes
- A handful of basil, torn
- Freshly grated Parmesan cheese for serving
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the spaghetti according to the manufacturer's directions until al dente. Drain the pasta but reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return pasta to the pot and toss with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil.
2. While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining oil in a large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, red pepper flakes, and garlic and cook for about 5-7 minutes, until the beef is entirely cooked through and browned, stirring to break up any clumps. Now add the tomato paste, sugar, a pinch of salt and pepper and cook for another 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and let cook until it has almost evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add in the pasta, vinegar, lemon zest and juice and tomatoes and toss well. Let cook another 4-5 minutes, until the tomatoes are warmed and starting to crack open and everything is well blended. Serve immediately with a sprinkling of basil and some fresh Parmesan cheese.
3. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container for several days in the fridge and reheated on the stove or in the microwave.
Note: Recipe adapted from Saveur Magazine. I left out the olives and thyme and cut down on the red pepper flakes.