Meat sauce from Italy satisfies

January 2, 2013 

This simple dinner will help you get through the busy holidays. Spaghetti Bolognese with a side dish of herbed zucchini is a simple, satisfying Italian meal. The gastronomic city of Bologna claims the origin of this dish, although it seems that every Italian cook has a favorite recipe.

While traditional meat sauce, or ragu, is usually left to simmer for hours, this recipe captures the essence without long hours of preparation. The secret is to let the onions, celery and carrots cook until they are sweet, and then add the crushed canned tomatoes.

Slicing vegetables very thin helps them to cook faster; frozen chopped onions help too. Serve with some crusty Italian bread warmed in the oven.

HELPFUL HINTS

Nutrition: This meal contains a total of 570 calories per serving with 27 percent of calories from fat.

Wine suggestion: In Bologna, they drink lambrusco with this dish, but that’s a bit sweet; try a chianti or val policella.

Cook quickly: Slice vegetables for Bolognese sauce and herbed zucchini at one time in a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade.

To buy: 1 small bunch celery, 1/2 pound 96 percent lean ground beef, 1 orange, 1 package frozen chopped onions, 1 19-ounce can crushed tomatoes, 2 medium zucchini and 1 small package dried spaghetti.

Staples: Carrot, garlic, olive oil, dry white wine, dried oregano, salt and black peppercorns. Spaghetti Bolognese

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped onions

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

1 carrot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

6 ounces ground lean beef (95 percent lean)

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed

Orange zest from 1 orange (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound uncooked dry spaghetti

Place a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for pasta. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Sauté 5 minutes, without browning. Add garlic and beef, crumbling the beef with a spoon. Sauté 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and orange zest and gently simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook 9 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and serve sauce over pasta. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 510 calories (22 percent from fat), 12.4 g fat (3.1 g saturated, 7.0 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 29.5 g protein, 66.0 g carbohydrates, 6.9 g fiber, 135 mg sodium.

Herbed Zucchini

2 medium zucchini, thin sliced lengthwise (2 cups)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high 3 minutes. Or, bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the zucchini. Cook 5 minutes. Drain, leaving about 2 tablespoons water in the pan. Return zucchini to the bowl or pot. Toss the cooked zucchini with olive oil and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 60 calories (72 percent from fat), 4.8 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 3.4 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 4.1 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 11 mg sodium.

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped onions

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

1 carrot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

6 ounces ground lean beef (95 percent lean)

1/4 cup dry white wine

2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed

Orange zest from 1 orange (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound uncooked dry spaghetti

Place a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for pasta. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot. Sauté 5 minutes, without browning. Add garlic and beef, crumbling the beef with a spoon. Sauté 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and orange zest and gently simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile, add spaghetti to boiling water and cook 9 minutes or according to package instructions. Drain and serve sauce over pasta. Makes 2 servings.

Per serving: 510 calories (22 percent from fat), 12.4 g fat (3.1 g saturated, 7.0 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 29.5 g protein, 66.0 g carbohydrates, 6.9 g fiber, 135 mg sodium.

HERBED ZUCCHINI

2 medium zucchini, thin sliced lengthwise (2 cups)

2 teaspoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place zucchini in a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on high 3 minutes. Or, bring water to a boil in a saucepan and add the zucchini. Cook 5 minutes. Drain, leaving about 2 tablespoons water in the pan. Return zucchini to the bowl or pot. Toss the cooked zucchini with olive oil and oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: 60 calories (72 percent from fat), 4.8 g fat (0.8 g saturated, 3.4 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 1.4 g protein, 4.1 g carbohydrates, 1.4 g fiber, 11 mg sodium.

Linda Gassenheimer is the author of 14 cookbooks including “The Flavors of the Florida Keys.” Go to dinnerinminutes.com.

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