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7-Minute Bolognese

Frankie Celenza

Make a quick bolognese by putting those pasta noodle leftovers to use with ingredients you already have on hand.

7 Minute Bolognese


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small onion, diced

  • 1-2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 carrot, peeled

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1 small can tomato paste

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 box spaghetti, cooked

  • Leftover meatballs


  1. Add olive oil to a hot pan. Sweat the onion and celery. Grate the carrot directly into the pan, stir and cook to soften. Grate garlic directly into the pan until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Stir in the tomato paste to combine. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon to deglaze the pan.

  3. Add meatballs and break them up. Stir to combine, adding more water if needed. Stir pasta into the pan to coat and warm through with the sauce.

  4. Serve and eat!

7 Minute Bolognese




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- Sometimes you want a ragu right now. It's supposed to take like seven hours. Well guess what, we only have seven minutes. What if we can get seven hours of flavor into a seven minute sauce? We can, it's a breakthrough. Let me show you how to do it. A ragu, a bolognese ragu, it takes a really long time to cook. Is there a way to have delicious flavors and make it happen faster? Well, we will find out in this journey together. I say we start with a small onion, and we cut it in half and we keep this little root end right there so that we can sort of have it hold everything together. All right, here comes olive oil. Relatively small pieces on the onion. It's gonna make it cook a little bit faster, because the name of the game here is faster. Celery, fundamental ingredient. You want to have about half as much celery as onion 'cause that's just the way it goes. So if you take a piece and then you come sort of this way for some long pieces, and then you can come in choo-choo train, just think of the drive shaft of the choo-choo train. Again, relatively small pieces so that it cooks pretty quickly. Celery goes in, hit it with heat, hit it with heat. And we chose a large pan here so that things don't crowd and it doesn't really steam, and you can actually get some browning happening. So the carrots probably take the longest amount of time to cook, but they're also the sweetest ingredient. So if you just come in with a grater right over top and into the dish, you're gonna get nice small pieces that add sweetness. And that's the base. This is called the sofrito in Italian. The French call it the mirepoix. Put a little bit of garlic in there too, same thing with the grater. This is just gonna give us a little bit of flavor. We want to do it last, 'cause the garlic burns. And this way it's insulated by the other ingredients in here a little bit, so at this point, just like baby it a little bit, start getting some deep colors happening. Don't let it burn, and that really just requires the ojos to be right here. Carrots are starting to get some brown color on there, and that is flavor and deliciousness. So right now is when we sort of want to stop the whole thing. So tomato paste, this is basically eliminating three hours of sauce reduction at least. So just get a little bit of toast on tomato paste. It's always hard to spread out, it looks very un-glamorous. Don't worry, it's like that for everybody. And now, water. We have essentially a hyper-reduced ragu now. I say you put all the water, because you can always turn up the heat and make it thicker or not. But there's also another thing, 'cause right now this is just a basic tomato sauce. And the other thing is that you already had sausages or meatballs or bacon bits leftover, and that is the heart of the dish, so you throw those in. Still having water in the pan is good. You could cover it, you could break these up. If and when it gets dry, you just add water. There's nothing wrong with adding water. When you have a can of tomatoes in there, the difference between it and paste is that it has more water. Water also enables us to braise these already seared meatballs in this sort of sauce. So now we have way too much water, but in like two minutes, it'll be the perfect consistency. Pasta goes in here. If it's straight out of the fridge and precooked with butter like this, then keep the heat on and heat the pasta up with the sauce. You made yourself spaghetti with butter and Parmesan last night, you're eliminating the butter and Parmesan step right here, and you also made meatballs separately, and now they're coming together as one. And then you come in, you give it a twist. Mm. That's the best fresh, leftover pasta I've ever had in my life. I eat pasta like 15 times a week. I'm not exaggerating. So I do it every way and any way that I can. If you have precooked meat, this is a delicious way to make a very quick ragu. It's Speedy Gonzalez.