Weeknight Bolognese

You’re probably wondering if you’re in the right place.

I know, lately I’ve sort of turned into a sweet baking blog…and while I love making baked goods, my true preference in the kitchen is cooking.

I like that I don’t have to be precise in my measurements when cooking; that I can sort of just throw things in at random, and (usually) have them turn out.  But I’ll be honest: by the time dinner rolls around during our frantic work week, the last thing I want to do is slow down long enough to take photographs (in other words, I’m hungry).

Also, I’ve determined taking decent food pictures when it’s pitch dark outside (darn you, Daylight Savings) is nearly impossible.

This meal, though, is worthy of sharing.  Not only that, but I had it from kitchen to table in under 45 minutes–perfect for a weeknight.

And soooo much better than take-out or something from the freezer section.

Serve it with a side salad and some garlic bread sticks, and you have a fancy, no-fuss meal any night of the week.

Weeknight Bolognese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 4 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (this gives your dish some extra flavor, but not a lot of heat--up it if you want it hotter)
  • 1¼ cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 16 ounce small pasta shells
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • ¼ cup half-and-half (I used fat-free)
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan and add ground beef. Cook until the beef has started to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook one more minute. Pour 1 cup of red wine into the skillet and use it to scrape up any brown bits. Add tomatoes, paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1½ teaspoons pepper, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer for 10 minutes.
  2. While the meat is simmering, cook pasta according to manufacturer's directions.
  3. While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, half-and-half, and remaining ¼ cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 10 minutes, or until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add shells to the sauce. Toss with ½ cup Parmesan cheese.

What do you think? Would you like to see more dinner recipes here?

Have a great Tuesday, everyone!

Don't stop here! Check out this other yummy stuff...


  1. You know I never say no to pasta – this dish looks just scrumptious to me!
    amy @ fearless homemaker recently posted..Lightened-Up Fettuccine AlfredoMy Profile

  2. I just discovered your blog and love it. Your meals sound wonderful and your photog is great! I have a P & S too so you give me hope! 🙂
    Sarah C. recently posted..Why I Use Coconut Palm SugarMy Profile

  3. That looks like a winner – who doesn’t love pasta! I’d really love more main dish ideas (but don’t stop posting the wonderful baking items). You have an amazing blog.

  4. This looks SO delicious Ashley! It’s making me want my dinner… 🙂
    Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust recently posted..Crazy Sweet TuesdayMy Profile

  5. This looks scrumptious! You need to come link it up on Totally Tasty Tuesdays!
    Mandy’s Recipe Box recently posted..Lunch Lady Peanut Butter BarsMy Profile

  6. oh this looks like a dish that Stevie would go crazy for!!! I know that the Tall Boy loved it!!
    Chandra@The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen recently posted..Pumpkin Scones and Pumpkin Chai LatteMy Profile

  7. Can I come to dinner at your house? Holy cow, this dinner looks fantastic. I love spaghetti–it’s such an easy meal and feels so home-y and comforting when you’re chowing down on it. And a no-brainer bolognese sounds right up my alley after a long day. Plus, I can get behind that cup and a quarter of wine in the recipe–hallelujah.
    Hayley recently posted..Hot Cocoa 3 Muskateers CupcakesMy Profile

    • Hayley, you’re welcome at my house for dinner anytime! This recipe really is a no-brainer, and yeah–it’s pretty awesome with the wine thrown in. 🙂

  8. That looks fantastic – and your pictures are gorgeous! DLS kills me, especially when my house has horrible lighting. Durn military housing :/

    Stopping by from TTT – pinned to share.
    Sarah E. recently posted..Italian Creme Cake CupcakesMy Profile

  9. I love a good pasta dish on the weeknights. Quick and simple – but always filling and delicious!
    Jenna@LittleKitchenBigFlavors recently posted..Crockpot Chicken CacciatoreMy Profile

  10. Making this right now! Cannot wait to eat it; I’ll text you! 🙂

    PS you’re a cooking and baking genius.
    Hayley @ The Domestic Rebel recently posted..A Baker’s Holiday Wish-List!My Profile

  11. This looks amazing! My question is: Can I omit the dry red wine? and can the 1/2 & 1/2 be substituted for milk?

    • Hi Emily! If you omit the red wine, I would suggest replacing it with beef stock/broth. And yes, you may use milk rather than half and half; your sauce just won’t be quite as creamy.


  1. […] immediately intrigued by her diverse recipes and gorgeous photos. I was torn between making this Bolognese dish, her Honey-Lime Chicken Skewers and her Jalapeno Popper Turkey […]

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