Shi’s Kitchen: The SIMPLEST Spicy Bolognese

Homemade Bolognese
A long time ago, a reader asked me for my pasta recipe that I frequently post on Instagram. I love pasta and pretty much need it weekly, if not more. I love all kinds of pasta too. From fancy ones that are extra al dente and served in small portions in a ginormous curved plate, to the home bolognese pictured above. The pasta I make is simple, very tasty, and completely unpretentious. You’ll see why:

Homemade Bolognese
Yup, that’s right, I use commoner marinara sauce as my base. Pasta is what I make when my fridge is emptied out. I usually won’t go specifically buy ingredients for cooking pasta. Once in a while, I’ll hop on over to Eataly for some fresh squid ink or tagliatelle, otherwise, it’s Rinaldi or Newman’s sauce for me with some Barilla brand pasta.

Homemade Bolognese
I also use a blend of seasoning.

Homemade Bolognese
And lots of this Sichuan chili powder.

Full ingredients list:

  • half a pound of ground beef
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • pasta (I buy the most basic Barilla brand. If you know how to cook it right, it still comes out great)
  • sauce (any basic sauce is good. The Associated Supermarket brand is a little watery, so less ideal, but Newman’s and Rinaldi are both great)
  • 2-3 tomatoes (to add some substance)
  • carrots (as much as you want. Carrots are actually key to this recipe because it sweetens the sauce, which is often too tart on its own, and it makes the sauce more chunky)

Homemade Bolognese
Saute  the ground beef and add garlic. When the beef is done, add salt and pepper. On the side, boil carrots thoroughly so they’re soft.

Homemade Bolognese
Add tomatoes to the mix. Cook until tomato skins begin to curl.

Homemade Bolognese
The jucier the tomato, the better, of course. Add in the carrots and simmer on low. Add seasoning (Italian seasoning, chili powder, etc.). I typically boil the pasta in the same water that I cooked the carrots in. Saves boiling time!  Also, make sure to add salt to the pot before you cook the pasta. The pasta will then absorb the salty water, and will be flavorful from within. If you salt it afterwards, no matter how salty your sauce is, your pasta will taste … bland. Empty. I always cook a minute or two less than the box suggests. It will still be almost a bit raw, but remember that you’ll be combining it in the sauce, which will continue to cook it.

Homemade BologneseDrain the pasta. Shock it with cold water so it stops cooking as much, and toss in with the sauce. I like having it simmer for another minute or so before I dig in. One of my favorite simple weekday meals. I always have this with some sort of roasted broccoli or brussels sprout on the side.

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