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April 5, 2006
Bento Italiano

[bento with penne and pasta sauce, roasted green beans]

Rigatoni with a "quick bolognese" sauce and roasted green beans with garlic

Ok, ok...this is definitely not a typical bento, but the meal sure looks cute in a bento box doesn't it? I used a microwave-safe bento container as I prefer eating pasta hot. This is one of our favorite quick pasta sauces -- we definitely love a real bolognese that has simmered for hours on the stove, but this one does well when time is of the essence.


2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup Italian parsley, minced
1/2 lb. ground chuck
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 28-oz. can whole tomatoes packed in juice, finely chopped, with juice reserved
1/2 cup heavy cream
rigatoni, cooked according to directions
grated parmesan to serve with
  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and parsley and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  2. Add the ground meat, oregano, and salt. Crumble the meat with the edge of a wooden spoon to break it apart into tiny pieces. Cook, continuing to crumble the meat, just until it loses its raw color but has not yet browned, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes and their juice and bring to a simmer. Simmer gently until the sauce begins to thicken, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cream, bring to a simmer, and cook until thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Adjust seasonings with extra salt to taste.
  4. Serve over rigatoni. Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top if desired.
* Use gluten-free ingredients
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