Shortcut Bolognese

Flavor, texture, and a seriously easy method transform a handful of ingredients into epic Bolognese that doesn’t need hours and hours on the stove. The sauce cooks while the water for the pasta comes to a boil, so this is a 30-minute dinner that’s a real reward at the end of a long day. (I’ve made this on vacation in rental houses a handful of times, and it’s always amazing how few ingredients you need to make a really delicious meal.) Read on for the full scoop on how to make this delicious Shortcut Bolognese Recipe.

SERVES: 6 TO 8  

PREP TIME: 10 minutes  

COOK TIME: 20 minutes  

TOTAL TIME: 30 minutes  


1 pound fettuccini or preferred type of pasta  

2 tablespoons olive oil  

1 cup fresh or frozen mirepoix, or 1⁄3 cup each diced onion, carrot, and celery  

1 pound ground beef  

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½ teaspoon fine sea salt  

One 28-ounce jar marinara sauce  

¼ cup heavy cream  

¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese  

Cracked black pepper (optional) 


  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.  
  2. Meanwhile, set a large skillet over medium heat and warm the olive oil. Add the mirepoix and stir to coat. Add the beef and sprinkle with the salt. Using a wooden spoon, break up the meat into smaller pieces. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the beef is mostly cooked through.  
  3. Add the marinara sauce to the beef, stir, and cover. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 10 minutes, or until the pasta is finished cooking.  
  4. Drain the pasta, add to the meat sauce, and toss to coat. Stir in the cream and Parmesan.  
  5. Serve the pasta, warm, topped with pepper, if desired.  

Recipe from YUMMY TODDLER FOODS: DINNERTIME SOS. Copyright © 2023 by Amy Palanjian

Photography copyright © 2023 by Lauren Volo

Published by Rodale Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Yummy Toddler Food: Dinnertime SOS by Amy Palanjian

A cookbook featuring 100 quick and easy dinners that the whole family will absolutely devour, yes, even your picky eater! The recipes can either be prepped ahead of time (then tossed in the oven, slow cooker etc) or they’ll be ready in 20 minutes or less. It’s a dynamic cookbook with healthy shortcuts, an abundance of meal planning tips and delicious recipes.

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