The traditional Bolognese Sauce is a tomato-based meat sauce that is simmered with carrots, onions and celery. The recipe originated in Bologna, Italy, and is most often called a ragu. The most popular story is that in 1982 a recipe was registered with the Academia Italiana Della Cucina and is said to be the most authentic. There is an Italian Academy? Wow!.Who knew?

We love this recipe! It is one of my favorites. It is chunky, hearty and I really love it when Joy makes it with beef, pork, veal and heavy cream — yes, I said heavy cream. (Her husband Chris is known in the family as “2 sticks Chris” and has been known to sneak in a stick or two of butter also.)

I saw him do it, I caught him! I always ask (with a sister-in-law moaning voice) “Chrissss, why so much?” He responds the same way all the time: “It adds flavor and silkens the sauce.”

Although it is scrumptious, it is way too heavy and full of calories and fat.

I will replace the meat with a bean. I chose red kidney beans, which are high in fiber, low in fat…a lot lower, and add a wonderful creaminess to this dish.

This recipe is really delish and my new favorite!


Judy’s Healthier Twist!

1 14-ounce can red kidney beans, or other beans, rinsed, divided

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 small onion, chopped

1/2 cup chopped carrot

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 cloves garlic, chopped

1 bay leaf

1/2 cup white wine

1 14-ounce can diced tomatoes

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided

8 ounces whole-wheat fettuccine

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


Put a large pot of water on to boil. Mash 1/2 cup beans in a small bowl with a fork.

Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrot, celery and salt; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Add garlic and bay leaf; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 15 seconds.

Add wine; increase heat to high and boil until most of the liquid evaporates, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and their juices, 2 tablespoons parsley and the mashed beans.

Bring to a lively simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 6 minutes.

Add the remaining whole beans; cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in the boiling water until just tender, about 9 minutes or according to package directions. Drain.

Divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Discard the bay leaf and top the pasta with the sauce; sprinkle with Parmesan and the remaining parsley.

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