NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

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December 19, 2012

An easy dinner during the holidays

This simple dinner will help you get through the busy holidays. Spaghetti Bolognese with a side dish of herbed zucchini is a simple, satisfying Italian meal.

The gastronomic city of Bologna claims the origin of this dish, although it seems that every Italian cook has a favorite recipe.

While traditional meat sauce, or ragu, is usually left to simmer for hours, this recipe captures the essence without long hours of preparation. The secret is to let the onions, celery and carrots cook until they are sweet, and then add the crushed canned tomatoes.

Slicing vegetables very thin helps them to cook faster; frozen chopped onions help too. Serve with some crusty Italian bread warmed in the oven.

This meal contains a total of 570 calories per serving with 27 percent of calories from fat.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestions: In Bologna, they drink lambrusco with this dish, but that’s a bit sweet; try a chianti or val policella.

Helpful Hints:

— Slice vegetables for Bolognese Sauce and Herbed Zucchini at one time in a food processor fitted with a thin slicing blade.

Countdown:

— Preheat broiler.

— Place water on to boil.

— Start Bolognese Sauce

— Make zucchini.

— Boil spaghetti

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

Serves: 2

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup frozen chopped onions

1 stalk celery, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

1 carrot, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)

2 medium cloves garlic, crushed

6 ounces ground lean beef (95 percent lean)

¼ cup dry white wine

2 cups canned tomatoes, crushed

Orange zest from 1 orange (about 1/2 teaspoon)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/4 pound uncooked dry spaghetti

Place a large pot with 3 to 4 quarts water on to boil for pasta. Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and carrot.

Sauté 5 minutes, without browning. Add garlic and beef, crumbling the beef with a spoon. Sauté 2 minutes. Add white wine and cook until all of the liquid is absorbed, about 1 minute.

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