I love the Food Network. Okay let me rephrase, Matt loves the Food Network and I think it is fine. But we watch it all day on the weekend. And while they do have some good recipes and suggestions on there, sometimes it is important to remember that you do not need to grow your own shit errr ingredients, or shop at Whole Foods or a local farmers market to have a wonderful dinner. Matt was at our Florida property this week and I had a fridge and pantry full of random stuff that I wanted to use before it went bad. The recipe below is based on what I had the freezer, fridge and pantry. The only thing I purchased was heavy cream (could have made my own but meh) and fresh basil to give it some oomph.

Let me also point out that this is not your traditional Bolognese. The good news is such a thing does not exist as Bolognese is made all over Italy and generally uses local ingredients native to the area. Any ground protein works (obviously we all have our preferences). This is also not the fanciest version, but still quite tasty and easy, and requiring little time. I am not going to tell you this is better than Bolognese that sits all day with the freshest ingredients, but this is easier and cheaper (and not that far off considering). Since this is meant to require very few ingredients you don’t already have I will include alternatives. The recipe is meant for two. Just double it if you have more mouths to feed or want leftovers. Also for things like garlic, or oregano, etc. these measurements are based on my preferences. Use as much or as little as you want. Remember too you can always add more if something is lacking as you should be tasting the sauce as it goes to ensure it is right. If it tastes like it is missing something, add it!


½ Lb of Ground Beef (or ground whatever you want to use up or combine multiple ground proteins)

1 can of crushed tomatoes (whatever you have in the pantry)

¼ cup of heavy cream

5 Cloves of Garlic

½ cup of red or white wine. Use whatever you have open in the fridge

2 tablespoons of butter

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil

2 tablespoons of dried oregano

1 leek (or onion, but we had a leek to use)

Red Chili Flakes-start with 1 teaspoons and add more based on how hot you like it

Spoonful of sugar

Salt and Pepper to taste

Parmesan Cheese

Half a box of whatever Pasta you have open

As you can see, I purposely used ingredients, with the exception of heavy cream or fresh basil most of us already have. Don’t open a new box of pasta, use whatever you have open. Use a ground protein that is already open and frozen (defrost it first!).


  1. Mince 4 cloves of garlic. Separate it into two halves. Combine with a fork one half of the minced garlic with the butter and put aside for now.
  2. Boil your pasta water. Shut the burner off when it starts boiling.
  3. Chop the leak (including the lite green part). Throw it into a small pan with 1+ teaspoons of olive oil and cook them for about 5 minutes. Add some salt and pepper to it as you add the links to the hot oil. Take it off the heat and leave them for now
  4. Warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the ground beef and cook until browned (5ish minutes). Add the leeks and cook for another minute. Add the remaining minced garlic, wine  and cook for another minute. Add the tomatoes, oregano, red chili flakes, garlic butter mix, sugar, salt & pepper and cook for about 10 minutes (add the fresh basil 5 minutes in)
  5. Reheat the pasta water and make your pasta
  6. Once the pasta is done, drain it and throw it into the sauce.
  7. Grate some parmesan cheese on top. Maybe cut up a little more fresh basil as a garnish.
  8. Mangia!

See? Simple. Chop some garlic, leeks and throw a bunch of shit into the pan and you have a wonderful inexpensive dinner!

Bon Appetit,

Sous Chef Andrew

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