We know, we know: Bolognese is undisputedly a winter comfort food. Those thick strands of pasta coated in velvety meat gravy are best eaten on cold nights when you want to wrap yourself in a blanket of red sauce and parm. But what if you took all the flavors of bolognese and turned them into a summer-friendly pasta. Well, that would be an amazing dish.
This summer bolognese combines cherry tomatoes, chiles, basil, and just enough meat for a weeknight-friendly take on the classic Italian ragù. It was created by senior food editor Andy Baraghani, the genius behind BA’s Best Bolognese (a three-hour, velvety meat sauce made from beef chuck, pancetta, white wine, and whole milk) and Healthyish’s Cauliflower Bolognese (a vegetarian but no less satisfying version that draws richness and texture from chopped-up cauliflower and mushrooms). This latest version uses peak-season produce to create a sauce that’s bright, fresh, and totally appropriate for August. Here’s how it comes together:
Most Bolognese recipes use a minimal amount of garlic (and sometimes none at all), but Andy uses eight thinly sliced cloves to create an assertive flavor without pancetta or beef chuck. Canned tomatoes can introduce too much water, so this recipe uses three pints of fresh tomatoes plus tomato paste to thicken the sauce and create ultra-concentrated flavor. Finally, a fresh chile (we like Holland or Fresno) adds fruity, bright heat to cut through the tomato sauce in a way those crushed red pepper flakes can’t.
Andy creates a lighter meat sauce by using ground chicken instead of beef chuck, although ground turkey would also work well here. Ground meat can go rubbery if it’s cooked too hot, so it’s important to go low and slow to create a velvety texture.
We’re partial to bucatini, spaghetti, or rigatoni for their sauce-soaking abilities, but use your favorite pasta shape. Just be sure to stop cooking when it’s very al dente, so it can finish cooking in the sauce without going limp. (Helpful tip: Aim to take your noodles out of the boiling water about two minutes earlier than the package directions.) Once the pasta is in the pot with the sauce, add a knob of butter, some grated Parm, and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid to bring everything together. The final touch? Two heaping cups of basil, which will wilt and perfume the whole pot.
All these elements add up to a Bolognese that’s lighter and brighter but no less satisfying than the winter edition. It’s the kind of Sunday sauce we crave in a heat wave—but could make on repeat throughout the year.
It's summer pasta night:Andy Baraghani
Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit