Bolognese and Alfredo Done Simply -- and Meaty

Categories: Food News
Photo by Flickr user CookingHow

"So where'd you get the recipe, anyway?" I asked. My friend Robey was standing at my stove, cooking up a vat of what he said was Bolognese sauce to feed our families.

"The internet, actually," he told me. "I called my mom and asked her to give me hers, but she started balking - so I was like, fuck this, and looked it up.  Turned out to be great." 

He was right: it is great.  Simple too. So much so that a variation of Robey's Bolognese is becoming a staple sauce in our house. To avoid whines of "that's not a traditional bolognese!" from anyone who grew up in Bologna, I'll just call it Robonese. 

For which I am in Robey's debt.  Because no matter how well I cook a slab of ribs
or a jalapeno-and-cheese-filled burger, every now and then someone in my house is going to request a meal in which the meat isn't necessarily the focal point of the dish.  But in my world, a meal without meat is like The Who without Moon and Entwistle, so a meat-based sauce is a great way for me to get my meat on while tricking my family into thinking they're eating a pasta dish.

This week I'm going to serve up two meat-based sauces that will give you something different to do with those family-sized packs of ground beef.  The Robonese is simple, the meaty Alfredo more complex.  Both taste great on pasta, and if I could put the Robonese in a baby bottle and crawl into bed with it, I would. But sadly, the nipple jams with beef.

This is possibly the easiest sauce to make, giving it a huge value-to-effort ratio, and the recipe is easily doubled (I'd recommend doing so - Robonese keeps well for days). Saute a medium sweet onion and a handful of garlic cloves over medium heat until they're soft and driving your family into a drooling frenzy.  Add a pound of ground beef, seasoned with salt and pepper.  Add a can of tomato paste.  Add no liquids.  Cook over a low heat until you can stand it no more.  Pour whatever you haven't already fed on over al dente pasta and go to town.

Meaty Alfredo
alfredo sans beef.jpg
Photo by Flickr user rosy outlook
Good, now just add meat.
Cream. Meat. Mmmmm, heart attack-y.  Boil water for your pasta, then start the sauce the same as the Robonese, with onion, garlic and butter in a pan, cooked slowly until soft and sweet.  Brown a half pound of seasoned ground beef in a separate pan and drain. Cut a half pound of prosciutto into strips and combine it with the beef and onions. Add a half can of drained, canned peas and a cup of cream.  Stir over low heat until the sauce thickens.  Drain your pasta and return it to the pot, pouring the sauce over the top and adding a bit more cream - you want it coated, but not swimming.  Serve immediately.

I love both of these sauces for different reasons, but it's the Robonese that gets the nod at my house more often than not.  It's quick, it's simple, it's delicious, and it came to me from my best friend, even without his mommy's help.

Bradford Schmidt is The Meatist. He's also author of the blog Bone in the Fan. He lives in northern Palm Beach County and actually does put liquefied meat in baby bottles.

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