Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

Pasta sauce is the ultimate veggie vehicle.

I just love how you can sneak in all sorts of delicious vegetables & not even notice. Not that vegetables need hiding, but hey you might as well bump up the nutrients in your pasta sauce if you can!

Finely chopped mushrooms blend particularly well with bolognese sauce.

When the cook down, they look just like the little chunks of ground beef, so you can’t even tell they’re in there! I use regular white button mushrooms since they have the mildest flavor. It’s a great way to add more fiber and some vitamin D to your meal.

Finely diced carrots also cook down to a nice soft texture, and the bright orange color blends in with the vibrantly red tomatoes.

The result is a thick and hearty bolognese sauce that coats each strand of noodles and is absolutely packed with flavor.

How good does that look??

Easy Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

This recipe is for a quick and easy weeknight bolognese.

Sure, a true bolognese that simmers for hours on the stove is what dreams are made of, but that’s not super realistic for a weeknight.

Luckily, you can still get a rich and complex sauce in under 30 minutes by using dried herbs, high quality canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and red wine.

I love this meaty sauce tossed with thick fettuccine noodles, but feel free to use whatever noodles you want. This meal is a crowd pleaser, and also makes great leftovers – the flavors deepen as it sits.

Close Up Weeknight Bolognese in a Bowl

Weeknight Bolognese with Fettuccine

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Prep15 mins
Cook30 mins
Total45 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/4 lb ground beef, 85% lean
  • 4 oz white button mushrooms, wiped clean with a damp paper towel and finely chopped
  • 2 whole carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 1/4 cup dry red wine, like Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 28 oz can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt, plus extra to taste
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, plus extra to taste
  • 1 lb dried fettuccine pasta
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large nonstick skillet. Add the ground beef and saute for about a minute, breaking up with a spatula as you stir. Once the meat is broken up and just starting to brown, add the mushrooms and carrots and continue to cook until the meat is nicely browned and there are no liquid juices left in the pan.
  • While the meat browns, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  • Next, add the garlic, oregano, basil, red pepper flakes, and tomato paste to the pan with the meat along with an extra splash of olive oil. Saute for about a minute, stirring, until the garlic is nice and fragrant.
  • Add 1 cup of the red wine, the tomatoes, salt, and pepper to the meat mixture and stir to combine. Let simmer uncovered for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, add the fettuccine to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until al dente. When the pasta is done, drain and lightly toss with a drizzle of olive oil to prevent it from sticking while you finish the pasta sauce.
  • To finish the sauce, stir in the nutmeg, heavy cream, and 1/4 cup wine. Let simmer for about 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld. Turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan cheese. Serve up the pasta into bowls, top with the bolognese sauce, extra Parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention or tag @ericajulson !

Inspired by Ina Garten’s Weeknight Bolognese recipe. 

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Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Tender noodles coated with a creamy sesame-peanut sauce, tossed with crispy tofu pieces, refreshing cucumber and bell pepper, and brought together with a pop of fresh cilantro and sesame seeds.

Sounds delicious, right?

Good. Because it’s what I’m bringing to you in this latest blog post:

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

Chilled pasta salads are a great way to mix up a boring spaghetti routine.

Yeah, you’re still eating pasta, but somehow, serving it cold makes it feel like a new, exciting, and refreshing dish.

Especially if you stray away from the typical Italian flavors, and go Asian instead. Plus, Chinese egg noodles cook even MORE quickly than Italian pasta. Win win.

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu and Sriracha

Peanut sesame noodles hit all the right notes.

Okay, I have a picky palate, so rather than just combine oil, vinegar, peanut butter, and tahini, I prefer a more complex sauce spiced up with fresh ginger, garlic, and shallot.

Andrew Zimmern (of Bizarre Foods fame) published a recipe for authentic Sichuan noodles with the most amaaaaazing peanut sesame sauce, and ever since making it, I can’t use any other sauce.

Cold Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu and Vegetables

So, this noodle salad features Andrew’s perfection of a sauce, plus some extra veggies and tofu to make it a meal instead of a side dish. (Thanks Andrew!)

This meal does require a lot of chopping, but I promise the end results are worth it. Don’t skimp on those sauce ingredients… the sauce is what makes the dish! It’s the perfect balance of salty and savory with a hint of acid and sweetness. And it does a wonderful job of coating the noodles, veggies, and tofu without feeling gloopy.

The final dish is a refreshing, light noodle salad with tons of flavor.

Trust me, this one is a crowd pleaser.

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu - Overhead Shot

Chilled Peanut Noodle Salad with Crispy Tofu

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Prep20 mins
Cook30 mins
Total50 mins
Servings: 6

Ingredients 

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons dry sherry
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 5 tablespoons roasted, unrefined peanut oil
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 12.3 ounces medium Chinese egg noodles
  • 1 cucumber, halved lengthwise, seeds removed, cut into small matchsticks
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeds removed and cut into small matchsticks
  • 1/3 cup minced cilantro
  • Sesame seeds, for garnish

Instructions

  • Take the tofu block out of the watery brine and dab it with paper towels to dry it off. Wrap the tofu in a fresh set of paper towels, set on a plate, and place something heavy, like a large cookbook or small saucepan on top to "press" the liquid out. Let sit for 15 minutes while you prep the sauce.
  • To make the sauce, add the ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, granulated sugar, rice vinegar, dry sherry, garlic, tahini, shallot, and 3 tablespoons of peanut oil to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator while you finish prepping the rest of the meal.
  • Unwrap the tofu and discard the paper towels. Cut the tofu into 1/2 inch cubes and set aside. Pour the 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil into a large nonstick skillet and warm over high heat. Add the tofu and pan fry on all sides until golden brown. Remove the crispy tofu to a paper towel lined plate and set aside.
  • Next, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add the egg noodles. Cook according to package directions, until al dente (4 minutes, for the brand I used). Drain the noodles in a colander and run under cold water until the noodles are cooled. Shake to drain any excess water and blot dry with paper towels. Transfer to a large serving bowl and toss with 2 tablespoons of the peanut oil.
  • Add the refrigerated peanut sauce to the bowl of noodles and toss to coat well. Add the crispy tofu, cucumber, bell pepper, and cilantro. Toss again lightly to combine. Scoop into individual serving bowls, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and enjoy!
Tried this recipe?Mention or tag @ericajulson !

Inspired by Cold Peanut-Sesame Noodles from Food & Wine Magazine / Andrew Zimmern

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Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Potatoes. Nature’s humble comfort food.

They’re inexpensive, delicious, easy to prepare, and please just about anyone.

You can slice and fry or bake into French fries, boil and mash into creamy mashed potatoes, dice and toss with olive oil and herbs and bake into crispy bites, or even pan sauté on the stove until golden on the outside and creamy on the inside.

So many options. And all of them are delicious.

Easy Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

A new favorite is in town: Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes.

They have the delicious golden crust that you get from baking, but they stay nice and creamy on the inside & don’t dry out at all.

The secret is using red or new potatoes and dicing them nice and small (about 1/2 inch dice) so you can get a good ratio of crispy crust to creamy inside.

Pan fry until golden, toss with some aromatic herbs and spices (garlic and rosemary are my favorite) and a little salt and pepper, and you’ve got an amazingly delicious side dish ready in 20 minutes.

Simple Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

Rosemary Garlic Pan Potatoes

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Prep5 mins
Cook25 mins
Total30 mins
Servings: 4

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 medium red potatoes, cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Pour the olive oil into a large nonstick skillet and warm over medium-high heat until shimmering.
  • Add the diced potatoes, stir with a spatula to coat with the oil, shake the pan to distribute the potatoes into one even layer, and then let them cook, without stirring, for a few minutes or until the potatoes develop a nice golden crust on that side.
  • Stir the potatoes with a spatula and repeat this process, letting the potatoes cook and become golden on all sides, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. If the potatoes start to burn, reduce the heat. If they are not browning, turn up the heat a bit.
  • Once the potatoes are nice and golden and crispy (and tender on the inside), stir in the minced rosemary, garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
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