11 Feb Val’s Beef Bolognese
I’m Italian. So naturally I love rich, old-school Italian meals. What I don’t love however, is how I can barely zip my jeans and have an intense need for a nap afterwards! All of those extra pasta carbs and too much fat causes immediate bloating and fatigue. Indulge too much and your heading for some major weight gain. But no worries- I got you! My easy Beef Bolognese is so delicious (I know I’m bragging a bit, but for real, it’s awesome) and uses only lean organic beef and just a touch of Mascarpone cheese (a sweet Italian cream cheese) for richness. I swapped nutritionally-void white pasta for delicious gluten free brown rice pasta to help to keep your blood sugar stable and avoid bloating. I also used only fresh garlic, veggies, herbs and a splash of your favorite red wine for intense flavor. Aside from this meal being mouth-watering and healthy, it’s also a bit sexy. Think about it- an all-natural, homemade and flavorful Italian meal that doesn’t make you feel like you want to go to sleep. This is the meal you make for your significant other or if you’re entertaining. And yeah, it’s perfect for family night too.
A couple of quick tips. Find Mascarpone Cheese near the cream cheese or in the specialty cheese section at your local market. You can make this bolognese the day before and simply reheat it in the pan the next day. Just don’t add the mascarpone cheese, basil or nutmeg until you reheat it and are about to serve it. To make this dish even healthier, I’ll occasionally swap the gfree pasta for brown rice or zucchini noodles (“zoodles”.) If you’re going for the gluten free pasta, women should aim for about 1/2 cup cooked pasta and men should aim for about 1 cup cooked pasta. Enjoy! xx Valerie
Makes approximately 6 servings (approximately 1 cup bolognese per serving plus approximately 1/2 cup cooked pasta for women and 1 cup cooked pasta for men)
- All natural cooking spray
- Approximately 1 ¼ pounds of 90% to 94% lean organic (ideally grass fed) ground beef (don’t go any leaner!)
- Sea salt, as needed
- Fresh ground black pepper, as needed
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 1 carrot, peeled and grated on a cheese grater or finely chopped
- 1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
- 1 big sprig of fresh rosemary, chopped
- 1/3 cup red wine that’s good enough to drink
- 3 garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1 jar of quality tomato sauce (look for tomatoes, not tomato paste as the first ingredient).
- Two pinches of nutmeg
- 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons mascarpone cheese
- Small handful of fresh basil, chopped
- Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- High fiber gluten free pasta like Felicia Bio Brown Rice Penne (follow cooking instructions on package)
- Heat large, non-stick pan over medium high heat. Once hot, spray pan with all natural cooking spray. Let cooking spray heat up for a minute and then add ground beef. Season ground beef with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt and fresh ground black pepper. Sauté until just no longer pink (don’t overcook the beef.) Remove beef with a slotted spoon, keeping fat and juices in the pan. Set beef aside in a small bowl. Note: While beef is cooking, heat up a separate pot of water for pasta.
- Lower heat to medium and add onion, carrot, celery, chopped rosemary, a pinch of sea salt and a little more black pepper to the pan and sauté for about 5 minutes or until veggie soften. Remove pan from heat and pour in 1/3 cup wine. Place pan back on the burner and stir veggie and wine mixture occasionally for about 4 to 5 minutes to cook out the alcohol. Add garlic, and beef back into the pan and stir. Add jar of tomato sauce and bring to a simmer. Lower heat, cover the pan and continue to gently simmer for about 20 minutes, lowering heat as necessary. Note: While beef bolognese simmers, make the pasta according to the cooking instructions on the package.
- Stir the mascarpone cheese and nutmeg into the bolognese. Taste the bolognese and add a touch more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in fresh basil and top with a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese if desired (it’s just as delicious without.)
- Serve over ½ cup cooked pasta for women, about 1 cup for men. Enjoy!
SO, WHAT’S THE NUTRITION BALANCE?
This recipe has a good balance of protein, carbohydrates and fat, though it’s slightly higher in carbohydrates due to the naturally high carb content of pasta. Using gluten free high fiber pasta helps. If you would like to reduce the carbohydrate content further, serve the bolognese over zucchini noodles (“zoodles”) or even a small amount of brown rice.