Easy Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

Bolognese

If you didn’t already know, we love pasta. We could cook and eat pasta until we’re blue in the face, and if you didn’t guess, one of our favorite sauces is bolognese.

Most bolognese recipes take a lot of time and when you’re in a pinch the last thing you want to do is wait 3+ hours for dinner and a sauce. What’s great about our Easy Weeknight Bolognese is that you get the wonderful flavors of a classic bolognese in half the time!

And most of the ingredients are things you already have in your fridge at home. And if you’re super lazy, and don’t want to chop, you can buy those prepackaged mirepoix (meer-quaw) mixes, that include diced onion, celery, and carrots!

Now, don’t be alarmed by the amount of ingredients, those are what make this recipe great and delicious!

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Easy Weeknight Bolognese Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Chopped Onions
  • 1 Cup Chopped Carrots
  • 1/2 Cup Chopped Celery
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef (Or any other meat)
  • 1 Jar Your Favorite Canned Marinara Sauce (24oz)
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 1/2 Cup Beef Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic (Minced)
  • 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Basil
  • 1 Tablespoon Parmesan (Grated)
  • Olive Oil
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Step 1: 

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is “dancing” add the ground meat, and season liberally with salt and pepper. Cook until no longer pink.

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

(Sidenote, ground meat does not photograph well…)

“De-fat” if necessary.

Step 2: 

While the meat is browning, heat one tablespoon of olive oil on high heat. Again, when the oil is “dancing” and hot, add the onion and sauté for three to four minutes.

Step 3: 

Next add the carrot and sauté for another two to three minutes. If needed add a little more olive oil. Then add the celery and garlic, and cook until garlic is fragrant.

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Step 4: 

When the garlic is fragrant, add the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic back to the meat. Stir until combined.

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Step 5: 

Add the wine and beef stock and raise the temperature to high. Allow the mixture to cook on high for about 15 minutes or until the majority of the liquid has cooked down.

Step 6: 

Once the liquid is cooked down, add your jar of marinara sauce and stir together. Lower the temperature to low.

We highly recommend Rao’s Homemade Sauces. Super delicious and you can read all the ingredients! But really, just pick any sauce that has the least amount of ingredients, and you know is super delicious.

Step 7: 

Next, add the tomato paste, bay leaves, parmesan, and dried basil. Stir together. Allow to cook for at least 15 minutes. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

Serve with your favorite pasta and top with freshly chopped basil.

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

Easy Weeknight Bolognese

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Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Pesto! Who doesn’t love Pesto? A simple dish that originated from Genoa, Italy where originally a paste was made from crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together.

This technique was called moretum which was more of a spread than a sauce like traditional pesto is seen today. The ancient Romans would eat this spread traditionally on bread and it was actually made in a mortar and pestle, hence the name!

In Liguria Italy (a city in Genoa) basil was a very common herb, so using it was a no brainer. There is where they added the addition of crushed pine nuts and a touch of olive oil to make more of a sauce as opposed to a spread.

In Provence, France they add fresh parsley and take out the pine nuts. This variation, is called Pistou. What’s great about pesto is all the variations there are and what you can as you make it. You can add parsley or mint to really liven up the  flavors, but today we are focusing on just simple and classy pesto.

The trick to keeping pesto green and not oxidizing, is blanching the herbs that you put in. So if you want to add parsley or mint, add them to the blanching process of Step 2.

Ingredients

  • 2 Cups Basil Leaves (packed)
  • 1 Cup Pine Nuts (toasted)
  • 6 Teaspoons Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
  • 1 Cups Grated Parmesan

Simplistic Pesto

Step 1:

Prepare a bowl of ice water, set aside.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. When the water is boiling add a liberal amount of salt.

Step 2:

Using a fine mesh sieve, put the basil into the sieve in two batches. Lower the first batch into the boiling water and let them blanch evenly for 15 seconds. Plunge the basil into the ice water, repeat with the second batch.

Drain the basil immediately, and squeeze the excess water out of the leaves. Pat dry with a paper towel.

Simplistic Pesto

Step 3:

Roughly chop the basil and place in a food processor. Next, add the pine nuts, garlic, salt, and cheese. Pulse until blended together.

Simplistic Pesto

If you can buy this cheese, it’s really the best. It’s so smooth and velvety, perfect for giving your pesto a creamy and silky texture. 

Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Step 4:

Before adding the oil, remember to scrape down the sides. With the food processor on, slowly add the olive oil and allow to come together.

Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Can serve over your favorite vegetables, pasta, chicken, or as a dip.

Pesto is best served at room temperature and if served with pasta, toss the pasta and pesto immediately. No need to heat the pesto separately. 

Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Simplistic Pesto

Quick and Easy Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonara is one of our favorite dishes. Christie had it at least 9 times while we were in Rome for two weeks.

We nicknamed our favorited restaurant “The Little Tomato”. Well, when you hear the ingredients, you might think “Breakfast?”, but this is definitely a delicious dinner or breakfast if you’re into that sort of thing!

Quick and Easy Pasta Carbonara

Quick and Easy Pasta Carbonara

Pasta Carbonora 

Ingredients 

  • 1 Box of Spaghetti
  • 2 Large Eggs
  • 1 Cup Parmesan (Grated)
  • 5 Slices of Bacon (Diced)
  • 5 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons Fresh Parsley (Chopped)

Step 1: 

First, fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil. Next add the salt and cook the pasta according to the boxes instructions. Before draining, reserve at least one cup of the cooking water. Set the pasta aside.

Step 2: 

Over medium-high heat, heat a large skillet. When the skillet is hot, add the bacon and cook for about 6 minutes. You want the bacon to be cooked, but not over cooked. Drain the excess fat.

Step 3:

Next, stir in the garlic and cook for about a 1minute or until the garlic is fragrant. Turn the heat to medium.

Step 4: 

In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs together and then add the parmesan.

Step 5: 

Stir the pasta into the bacon and garlic and slowly pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Making sure you are stirring constantly. Add a little pepper and salt if needed.

Step 6: 

One tablespoon at a time, add the reserved pasta water until you achieve your desired consistency. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.

Quick and Easy Pasta Carbonara

Quick and Easy Pasta Carbonara

We found inspiration from this blog for today’s recipe

Summer Evening Pasta

Summer Evening Pasta

This is a perfect meal for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time in a hot kitchen during the summer. Fresh basil and tomatoes and your favorite tomato sauce make this recipe quick and easy.

And who doesn’t love a meal that could be cooked in 15 minutes or less. Aren’t there tons of shows on the food network that have that as a selling point? Either way, this recipe is delicious, healthy and a low hassle meal.

Summer Evening Pasta


Summer Nights Pasta

Ingredients 

  • 3 to 4 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic (minced)
  • 12 Large Basil Leaves (chiffonade)
  • 2/3 to 3/4 Cup of your favorite Marinara
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Kosher Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Pepper
  • 1 Box Pasta
  • Garlic Olive Oil

Step 1: 

In a large pot, fill with water and bring to a boil. Add salt and begin to cook your pasta.

**You should be able to do the next few steps during the pasta’s cook time, if you’re pasta’s cook time is less than 4 minutes, start with step two and then cook your pasta.

Step 2: 

In a large sauté pan, heat one tablespoon of garlic olive oil.

Step 3: 

When the oil is hot and ‘dancing’ add the garlic and cook for 30 to 50 seconds or until the garlic is nice and fragrant.

Summer Evening Pasta

Step 4: 

Add the tomatoes and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes stirring constantly, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn.

Summer Evening Pasta

Step 5: 

Next, add the marinara sauce and stir until combined. Mix in half the basil and reduce the heat to low.

Summer Evening Pasta

Step 6: 

Just before the pasta is ready to be drained, reserve at least one cup of the pasta water. Drain the pasta and immediately place the pasta into the sauté pan.

Summer Evening Pasta

Step 7: 

Add a little bit of the pasta water and mix everything together until evenly coated. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes, fresh cracked pepper, and the rest of the basil and serve immediately.

Summer Evening Pasta


Velvety Marinara Sauce

It’s Saturday and you know what you should make? Our classic and delicious marinara sauce. We know traditionally, most Italian’s make their sauce (or gravy) on Sundays but here at TYL, we’re a little non traditional so Saturdays are marinara day!

Besides, any good chef (or home cook) knows that a sauce, gravy, chili, stew, etc. tastes better the next day…so break out of the norm and make this sauce today!

There are many theories as to the origins of marinara sauce.  Most people would just assume that the moment Italy was formed BAM! there was marinara sauce, but no! It first appeared in an Italian cookbook in 1692.  Apparently the tomato was a fruit of the New World, and according to some theories, were brought over by Spanish explorers to Naples, a major port city.  Marinara means mariner or sailor, so some believe that tomato sauce was something that the sailor’s wives made when their husbands returned from sea to feed them.

Others believe that the sailors themselves made the sauce to bring with them to sea because the high acid content kept the food edible longer. One last theory is that tomatoes were used in place of a different fruit that might have been previously used in a pasta sauce, such as figs or apricots. Weird to think that tomato sauce is actually a savory fruit sauce!

Also, one possibility as to why some people call it tomato gravy, is because of the mother sauce tomate, where a roux is used to start the sauce.  A roux is traditionally used to make a gravy, hence, tomato gravy! Soon we’ll do an entire post just about the mother sauces, so stay tuned for that!

Velvety Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • garlic salt
  • pepper
  • 1 small red onion, mined
  • 1-28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup of red wine
  • dried basil
  • dried oregano
  • 3 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • Grated Parmesan

Step 1: 

Pre-heat oven to 400°F.  Cut Roma tomatoes in half and place them in a bowl together, pour some olive oil on top and season with garlic salt and pepper. Toss them around until all the tomatoes are coated. Place them on a baking sheet and place them in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Step 2:

Heat olive oil in a heavy bottom pot. Put smashed garlic into the oil until you can smell it, about 2 minutes. Then take it out of the oil and keep it until later. Add the onions and season with salt, dried basil and dried oregano. (add some rosemary salt if you want! Let it simmer for 5 minutes.

Step 3:

Open the can of crushed tomatoes and add it to the pot with the onions. Use a swish of red wine to clean out everything in the can. Let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Step 4:

Add 1 cup of red wine, but we always follow Queen Ina’s philosophy of there could never be enough wine! But if you aren’t as big of a fan of wine as Ina Garten, then feel free to omit it, and add more tomato paste in it’s place. Let it simmer again for 10 minutes.

Step 5:

Now that the Roma tomatoes are out of the oven, with a spatula transfer the tomatoes to the pot. Also, add the smashed garlic that you save from the beginning. Let them all party in the hot tub for another 10-15 minutes.

Step 6:

Turn off the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Grab the blender, and blend the sauce mixture in batches. Return to the pot, taste, add grated parmesan to your liking and any seasonings you feel need to be there. Enjoy!

Velvety Marinara Sauce

Pasta with Broccoli Marinara

Today’s dish is inspired by an Amy’s Kitchen Microwavable Dinner. We don’t normally eat microwavable dinners, but on our road trip, this dish was our best option in the middle of nowhere.

We thought these microwave dinners would taste like cardboard that needed way more salt, because they were gluten free and everything free, but they were surprisingly delicious, that could have been from the fact that we were dying for some healthy food, but either way we made our own version to share with you!

Pasta with Broccoli Marinara

Pasta with Broccoli Marinara

Pasta with Broccoli Marinara 

Ingredients 

  • 1 Jar of your favorite Marinara Sauce
  • 1 Bag Broccoli Florets
  • Half a Red Onion
  • 2 Tablespoons Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Dried Basil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 Box Uncooked Pasta

Step 1: 

In a large sauce pan, heat one tablespoon of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the red onion and sauté for two minutes. Next, add the garlic. Sauté for thirty seconds.

Step 2: 

Add the entire jar of marinara sauce. Next, add the basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and baking soda. Stir together and reduce the heat to low.

Step 3: 

In a large pot, put the broccoli in and just cover with boiling water. Cook for two to three minutes. Immediately drain the broccoli and place in a ice bath. Refill the pot with water and place on the stove to cook your pasta.

Step 4: 

When the pasta water is boiling, add salt and pinch cayenne pepper (if you’re not a fan of heat, omit the pepper) then add your pasta. Cook according to the box.

Step 5: 

While the pasta is cooking, drain and pat the broccoli dry. Drain the pasta, and return to the pot adding the broccoli and then cover with the warm sauce. Mix until combined and then serve!

Pasta with Broccoli Marinara

Classy Bolognese Sauce

One of our favorite dishes to make is Pasta Bolognese. We can’t tell you how many times we’ve made different variations of this dish, but we never tire of making it. For the first time we made our own version of Pasta Bolognese. That’s right, no recipe. We just did it straight from our brains. And it turned out pretty fucking great.

This recipe is a no frills kind of recipe, just classically beautiful, like two young ladies should be!

Classy Bolognese 

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese

Ingredients

  • 1 Shallot (finely diced)
  • 1 Cup Celery (About 4 Stalks, finely diced)
  • 1 Cup Carrots (3 Large, finely diced)
  • 1 Medium Onion (finely diced)
  • 1 Cup Baby Bella Mushrooms (About 9 mushrooms), finely diced)
  • Meat Trio 1lb Each (Beef, Pork, Veal, Italian Sausage, it’s really up to you which ones you use)
  • Garlic Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Cup Red Wine
  • 2/3 Cup Whole Milk
  • 2 to 3 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 28oz Can Crushed Tomatoes
  • 1 28oz Can Whole Tomatoes
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 2 Basil Leaves ( Cut into Ribbons)
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Crushed Red Peppers
  • Few Chunks of a Parmesan Rind
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic
  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper

Classy Bolognese

Step 1: 

In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons of garlic olive oil and one tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat.

Step 2: 

When the oil is shimmering add the diced onions, mushrooms and shallot. Sauté for two to three minutes.

See how the oil dances?

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese

Step 3: 

Add the carrots and sauté for another three minutes. Finally, add the celery and continue cooking for at least 1 minute.

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese

Celery has a lot of water, so adding it last is a must!

Classy Bolognese

Step 4: 

If needed, at a little more oil, and then add your Meat Trio. Season liberally with Kosher salt and pepper. Break and brown the meat until the meat is just barely pink.

Classy Bolognese

Step 5: 

Next, add your red wine and raise the heat to high. Cook until all the liquid has cooked off, about 3 to 5 minutes.

It’s okay if it takes longer, we all have different stoves, so don’t be alarmed!

Step 6: 

Once the wine has been cooked off, lower the heat to medium and add the milk. Cook until most of the liquid is gone, this can take anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes.

Classy Bolognese

Step 7: 

Add the tomato paste in and mix well.

Classy Bolognese

Step 8: 

If you haven’t, squish your whole tomatoes in a separate bowl, you can do it in the pot, but you run the risk of hot splatter, and we don’t think anyone wants that.

Pour your tomatoes in the pot and stir until combined. Add the 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder. At this point you can add a splash of red wine.

Classy Bolognese

Step 9: 

Stir in the basil, bay leaf, onion powder, garlic powder, parmesan rinds and red peppers. Taste and season accordingly, if it needs more salt or pepper or any seasoning…add it!

Lower the heat and cook un-covered for 1.5 hours.

Classy Bolognese

Step 10: 

After 1.5 hours of cooking, add 1 hearing tablespoon of chopped garlic. Continue cooking un-covered for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally.

Again, at this point, taste and season accordingly. But go easy on the salt, the rinds have a really nice salty flavor, and release the salt flavor as they melt.

Step 11: 

During the last hour of cooking, you can slowly start to defeat your sauce. This step isn’t necessary but we always defat in the last hour.

Classy Bolognese

Step 12: 

When the sauce is ready, cook your pasta and toss the sauce and pasta together.

*We always reserve at least a cup and half of our pasta water (after the pasta is cooked, but before you drain) and use to toss with the pasta and the sauce.

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese

Classy Bolognese