Quick Pasta Bolognese

January/February 2013

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Who doesn’t love pasta with a quick meat sauce? This crowd-pleasing healthy spaghetti Bolognese recipe is a boon for busy cooks—it’s ready and on the table in just 40 minutes.

Quick Pasta Bolognese

Makes: 4 servings, 1 cup pasta & about 1 cup sauce each

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  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 medium stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 ounces whole-wheat rigatoni or penne (about 3 cups)
  • 8 ounces lean (93% or leaner) ground beef
  • 1/3 cup dry red wine
  • 1 14-ounce can petite diced tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper


  1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, celery and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain.
  3. Add beef to the vegetables and cook, breaking up with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add wine and cook until almost evaporated, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, tomato paste and nutmeg; reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in salt and pepper. Serve the pasta with the sauce.

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Refrigerate the sauce (Steps 1 & 3) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 6 months.


Per serving: 414 calories; 10 g fat (3 g sat, 5 g mono); 43 mg cholesterol; 55 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 26 g protein; 7 g fiber; 522 mg sodium; 709 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin A (118% daily value), Vitamin C (39% dv), Zinc (33% dv), Iron (24% dv), Potassium (21% dv), Magnesium (19% dv).

Carbohydrate Servings: 3 1/2

Exchanges: 2 1/2 starch, 2 1/2 vegetable, 2 lean meat, 1/2 fat

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