Hi Everyone!! What is the first thing you think of when someone says – Valentine’s Day. I’m sure a lot of you think chocolate, flowers or romance…but for me, I think Italian food. I’m not sure why but I’m guessing it has to do with a certain spaghetti scene from a dog loving Disney movie…. And I guess there is something about Italian food which is kinda sexy. (I blushed when I typed that!) Twirling pasta, drinking wine, low lighting….meow!
Since I love to cook, my hubby & I will celebrate Valentine’s Day by staying in. In Chicago, if you don’t book your reservation weeks in advance, good luck at getting something that isn’t super early or late.
Making a special meal is a great way to show someone you love them, but you don’t need to stay in your kitchen all evening to prepare a spectacular meal. Lasagna is amazing, but it takes FOREVER to actually eat it. You have prepare everything, assemble the lasagna and then bake it for 60 minutes. There is a time and a place for lasagna, just not on Valentine’s Day.
To give you more time with your honey, I created a Lasagna Bolognese Pasta Toss. It has all of the elements of a lasagna — meat sauce, bechamel sauce, cheese and pasta — but you don’t have to bake it in the oven. And that means you’ll get to eat a lot sooner!
Bolognese sauce is one of my favorite meat sauces. It’s filled with veggies, garlic, pancetta, ground pork, red wine and tomatoes. This meat sauce recipe is doubled. I like to let it sit for a few days, so the flavor even builds and toss it with spaghetti. Or freeze the sauce and use it at a later date.
If you’re still scanning the Internet for the perfect Valentine’s Day meal, give this Lasagna Bolognese Pasta Toss a try! You can make a sexy Italian meal and spend more time with the one you love.
- * 3 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- * 1 Onion, diced
- * 3 Celery stalks, diced
- * 4 Carrots, diced
- * 5 Slices of Pancetta, sliced
- * 4 Garlic cloves, minced
- * 1 lb Ground pork
- * 2 tbsp Parsley
- * A few dashes of Red Pepper flakes
- * 1 cup Red Wine
- * 28 oz canned Crushed Tomatoes
- * 28 oz canned Diced Tomatoes
- * Salt & Pepper, to taste
- * 13.25 oz Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
- * 2 tbsp Butter
- * 2 tbsp Flour
- * 1 cup Skim Milk
- * 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- * Salt & Pepper, to season
- * 1 1/2 cups of your favorite Italian Style Cheese Blend
- * Shredded Parmesan Cheese, garnish
- * Parsley, for garnish
- Pour oil into a warm large skillet. At a medium heat, add onions, celery & carrots. Stir and cook until soft. Stir in pancetta and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes and keep stirring. Add pork and break it up with a wooden spoon. Cook until pork starts to brown. Stir in parsley and red pepper flakes. Cook for an additional minute.
- Pour wine into the skillet and cook until wine is evaporated. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan and get the brown bits. Add both cans of tomatoes. Bring to simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Taste and add salt & pepper, if needed.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions and drain.
- To make bechamel - In a sauce pan, add butter and flour. Stir consistently and cook until the color turns to a deep blonde color. Stir in one cup of milk, using a whisk. When sauce starts to thicken, add Dijon mustard, salt & pepper. Turn off heat and add in the 1.5 cups of the cheese blend. Stir until there are no clumps.
- Remove half of the meat sauce and set aside. (Use at a later date!) Add drained pasta & bechamel sauce to the meat sauce. Stir until well combined.
- To serve, top each portion with shredded Parmesan cheese and parsley.