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Summer Bolognese

Summer Bolognese

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Think of this weeknight-friendly pasta recipe as a lighter take on the classic Italian ragù that features cherry tomatoes, a red chile for some heat, and tons of fresh basil. It will also take you under an hour to make!


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 lb. ground chicken or turkey
  • 1 red chile, such as Holland or Fresno, thinly sliced
  • 12 oz. bucatini, spaghetti, or rigatoni
  • 1 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 oz. finely grated Parmesan (about 1 cup), plus more for serving
  • 2 cups basil leaves, torn if large

Recipe Preparation

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium until shimmering. Cook garlic, stirring occasionally, until softened and fragrant but not browned, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, season with salt, and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until there are only a few pink spots left, 5–7 minutes.

  • Add wine and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook, smashing down on chicken with a wooden spoon, until wine is evaporated and meat is finely ground, 4–6 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally and still pressing down on meat, until tomato paste is slightly darkened, about 3 minutes.

  • Add tomatoes and chile and cook, stirring to coat, until tomatoes begin to burst, about 4 minutes. Smash some but not all of the tomatoes with the back of wooden spoon to help create a sauce, then continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened and about half of tomatoes are completely broken down, 4–6 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water until very al dente, about 2 minutes less than package directions.

  • Using tongs, transfer pasta to pot with sauce. Add butter, 2 oz. Parmesan, and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium heat, tossing constantly, until pasta is al dente and liquid is slightly thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from from heat and fold in basil until fragrant and leaves are slightly wilted.

  • Transfer pasta to a platter. Top with more Parmesan.

Reviews SectionThis is a beautiful recipe and a favorite new way to finally make use of our small garden’s fresh tomatoes and basil on warm summer nights. Because this has it’s own clean clear presentation and taste I don’t alter the ingredients. The one exception as someone mentioned might be in the case of the measured amount of olive oil, which I usually just eyeball and use as needed anyway, but if cooking for someone living with necessary “no-any-fat” restrictions due to health reasons, I assume that they already know how to navigate and select from recipe collections. For most of us some amount of olive oil is needed when the meat used is lean chicken or turkey breast. It’s such a fresh recipe making use of only a few spices or herbs allowing the summer-time-only incredible taste of seasonal tomatoes and basil to stand out. Thanks for this one. It’s in our family’s repertoire since before and now during the 2020 pandemic stay at home days and nights.AnonymousChapel Hill, North Carolina, U.S.A.07/30/20This Summer Bolognese is sooo delicious... I added a little spicy sausage and onion while cooking the meat and it added a little spice that was phenomenal. A great summer pasta that uses fresh ingredients.AnonymousNew Jersey06/10/20Love this Summer Bolognese recipe! In the process of making it for the second time right now in the past month.It will for sure be made many many more times in the coming extremely hot Sacramento summer months, that also bring amazing fresh tomatoes and fresh basil at the local Farmers markets.Thank you BA for another fabulous recipe!!!addiec1128Fair Oaks, CA05/26/20This recipe is so delicious and incredibly easy to follow. Will definitely be making again.AnonymousLos Angeles, CA05/26/20I didn't have any turkey or chicken in hand, so used some left over steak that i grounded up, made for a nice alternativeGeoDude68Melbourne04/03/20So so delicious. I love this dish and feel like it’ll be in permanent rotation for years! I’ve made several times and it never disappoints. At the moment I’m recommending it to anyone who will listen to me (and then I’ll beg them to share).elspBrisbane, Australia 03/02/20I love this dish! I make it alternating-ly without the chicken or the Parmesan to make the dish Kosher. It's delicious either wayAnonymousNew York01/14/20I mainly followed the recipe, but used ground turkey thigh instead of chicken. After cooking everything, I felt it needed a little pop so I ended up adding a bit of balsamic vinegar (maybe 1 tsp). That helped, but needed still more zing...I didn't want more sweetness, so added another 1 tsp of red wine vinegar. That did it! Quite delicious.whitneybouckSan Francisco11/27/19Fabulous. Truly a 'lighter' version of an old favorite that feels like you're savoring the last of summer. And also very easy to make. Highly recommend!AnonymousChicago, IL09/14/19Loved, loved this recipe. Used a bunch of super ripe chopped tomatoes and it turned out great. I'm also trying to reduce calorie content, so I used less than half the oil and no butter and it didn't taste austere or lacking in fat at all. Wonderful!So delicious and light! Two cups of basil may seem like a lot, but it really sets the whole dish over the top.alizaraeNew York 08/20/19I've made this twice now. The first time, as written. The second time, I halved the cherry tomatoes to help the sauce come together quicker, added some callestrano (?) olives and capers just for fun, and used red chili flakes instead of using fresh chilis because it was what I had on hand. Both times, it was delicious and got even tastier as leftovers.raynewMinneapolis08/19/19This was delicious! Perfect as is! I used ground turkey, fettuccine and the tube tom paste because that's what I had. Will definitely make againAnonymousBostonian in DC08/11/19Angry American mode ON: WAY too much olive oil!cfranceFlorida/France08/08/19Angry Italian mode: ONWhy call it Bolognese?There is no such thing as "light Ragù", or Ragù with spaghettiAngry Italian mode: OFFLooks very summery and delicious, looking forward to try itToneeBologna, Italy08/07/19Delicious and easy, will make again for sure!Holly AltNew Berlin, WI08/06/19Great recipe. I love making bolognese in the winter, this a great summer alternative. I used a mix of red, heirloom, and sungold cherry tomatoes.

Watch the video: Ina Gartens Summer Garden Pasta. Barefoot Contessas easy and best pasta recipe ever! (May 2022).