Tuesday, September 6, 2011

How To Tuesday - Easy Bolognese and Cookie Cheesecake Bars

This week's how-to Tuesday is a yummy recipe I have to share!  On Saturday, Matty and I celebrated our 'together-anniversary' of when we first started calling things official.  It has been 7 years! We've been together for 35% of our lives, sometimes it seems unreasonable but so far so good I guess ;)

We cooked together! We actually droooove to the grocery store to buy all the ingredients and make a special dinner.  The main course was Weeknight Bolognese, recipe courtesy of the amazing Ina Garten...

(apologies for the pictures not being top quality, although I do think it would be difficult to get an attractive photo of meat... yes?)

Ina's Weeknight Bolognese: (we followed the recipe exactly)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra to cook the pasta
  • 1 pound lean ground sirloin
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound dried pasta, such as orecchiette or small shells
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground sirloin and cook, crumbling the meat with a wooden spoon, for 5 to 7 minutes, until the meat has started to brown. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 more minute. Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a tablespoon of salt, a splash of oil, and the pasta, and cook according to the directions on the box.

While the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and the remaining 1/4 cup wine to the sauce and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. When the pasta is cooked, drain and pour into a large serving bowl. Add the sauce and 1/2 cup Parmesan and toss well. Serve hot with Parmesan on the side.

And then.... Dessert!... Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars (drooling yet?)

I actually found something so good on Pinterest that I had to make it myself.  This is the first Pinterest inspired thing I have made, and it did not disappoint.  The recipe took me to Brandy's Baking blog. I adapted the recipe slightly to make it a little more 'semi home made' so I didn't have so many dishes to clean...

1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Cheesecake Filling:
10 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract Cookie Topping:
1 Store bought uncooked chocolate chip cookie dough package (nestles) (here's where I cheated)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 F. Line an 8" square baking pan with parchment paper or foil allowing a little overhang and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
2. Mix the melted butter and graham cracker crumbs until thoroughly combined. Press the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. Bake in preheated oven for 6 minutes. Remove pan to a cooling rack.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment cream together the cream cheese and sugar until smooth. Mix in the egg and vanilla on low speed just until incorporated. Pour the cheesecake batter into the prepared crust. Using your hand to form clumps, distribute the cookie dough onto the top of the cheesecake. Evenly cover a top layer with cookie clumps (I used about half my cookie dough package).
4. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the top feels dry and firm (the cookie dough) and the entire pan looks set if given a gentle shake. Move bars to a cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Chill in refrigerator overnight or for at least a couple hours.
5. Lift the bars out by the overhang and cut into squares for serving.  Enjoy!

Both of these recipes did NOT disappoint, they were very very very good. And we can still enjoy lots of left overs :)

What did you cook over the Labor Day weekend? I'm a little sad I didn't get any hot dogs!

<3 Rachel w k
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  1. I love Ina! I have one of her cookbooks and everything just looks so good in it. Nice cheat on the dessert, which looks yummy. Did you know that Philly also has a ready-made cheesecake filling? I don't think it's quite as good as homemade, but good in a pinch. Come link up on Thursday!

  2. Oh my goodness those cookie cheesecake things look absolutely amazing! I'll have to try them for sure!

  3. this looks so delicious come see what i shared at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

  4. Yum! I've been wanting to make bolognese forever. I'll have to give ita try!