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Healthy Pasta Bolognese

December 19, 2011
Pasta bolognese is one of my most favorite comfort foods. I’ve enjoyed it at many a restaurant and dinner party, but never ventured to try making it on my own. I finally gave it a shot and was so glad I did! In spite of the healthy spin I put on the original recipe, it came out superb. I think I even like it even more than any others I have previously enjoyed.
To make my sauce, I referred to Emeril Legasse’s recipe, but omitted the bacon and the ground pork, as well as opted for ground beef instead of ground veal. I replaced the heavy cream with skim milk, replaced the red wine with beef broth, and used more olive oil instead of butter. Remembering simple, healthy changes like these when adapting any recipe can save you a lot of calories without sacrificing quality.
It’s so easy to make. All it takes is some time. The sauce simply requires some quick sautéing, stirring, and simmering over low heat for three or four hours, and the outcome is a rich, meaty, hearty, faintly sweet, faintly spicy, creamy red sauce. Yes, I just used all those adjectives to describe this sauce, but all of those descriptions are, in fact, accurate. I hope you make this one some time soon because it’s a keeper!
cutting board
food processor (optional)
chef’s knife
large saucepan

2 tbsp olive oil
½ large yellow onion, minced
2 medium carrots, minced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, minced
1 lb lean ground beef
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp Italian seasoning (or combo of rosemary, thyme, oregano)
1 tbsp parsley
3 tbsp tomato paste
splash Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
splash A1 steak sauce (to taste)
1 cup tomato sauce
2 cups beef broth
1 cup non-fat milk
salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat your saucepan to medium heat. Add the olive oil, then the minced onions and carrots (I like to use my food processor to get the veggies super fine). Saute for 5 minutes.
2. Add your garlic and saute for a couple more minutes.
3. Add your bell pepper and saute for a couple more minutes. (Most recipes call for celery, but I like the subtle spice of green bell pepper.)
4. Add the bay leaves, nutmeg, cinnamon, brown sugar, paprika, and Italian seasonings. Stir to combine.
5. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink (about 5 minutes).
6. Add the tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, and A1 sauce. Cook for 1 min.
7. Add in the beef broth, tomato sauce, and milk. Bring to a boil and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce down to thicken. Lower heat to medium-low and cook for at least another hour to allow the sauce to continue to thicken, the meat to tenderize, and the flavors to intensify.

8. Before you are ready to serve (I like to eat mine with whole wheat spaghetti), do a taste test. Add salt and pepper to taste. Feel free to also add more Italian seasonings, or other spices to taste. Enjoy!
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