Easy Red Meat Bolognese Sauce, Pasta Salad, Penne Recipes Try Now

Nutritionist, mom and cookbook author Robin Miller knows how to cook a great meal. Pasta is a perennial favorite because it’s inexpensive, quick to prepare, and endlessly adaptable.

Her recipes run the gamut from flavor-packed cold pasta salads to creamy, indulgent penne and hearty beef bolognese that taste luxurious enough for a weekend dinner, but are quick enough to make on a night of dinner. week.

These recipes are affordable, customizable and easy. So go ahead and whip up a red sauce supper on Sunday, a nice lunch of mad pasta salad, and 20-minute penne pasta to help you through the midweek doldrums.

Here are three of Miller’s best pasta recipes to add to your repertoire right now.

Pasta heaven: Upgrade your weekday pasta with this penne alla vodka

Fettuccine with bolognese sauce

Bolognese is the quintessential beef stew made with ground beef, aromatic vegetables like onions, carrots, celery and herbs. Some recipes also call for pork, milk or cream. Traditionalists claim Bolognese is not heavily tomato-based, although many recipes call for tomatoes in some form, whole canned tomatoes that you mash with your hands into sauce, puree, or tomato paste. Bolognese is a classic pasta sauce, but this version is also great with rice, potatoes, or over tender roasted spaghetti squash and acorn squash.

Servings: 4


For the sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup finely chopped onion

2-3 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound lean ground beef

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups of tomato sauce

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

To serve:

1 pound cooked fettuccine (or pasta of your choice) or 2 cups rice, potatoes or squash, for serving

Grated or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano or domestic Parmesan cheese, for serving

Fresh basil or parsley, for serving (optional)

Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving (optional)


Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook, 3 to 5 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add the beef and cook until browned, breaking up the meat as it cooks. If necessary, drain excess fat.

Add Italian seasoning, ½ tsp salt and ¼ tsp black pepper and stir to coat. Cook 1 minute, until the dried herbs are fragrant.

Add tomato sauce and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and partially cover. Simmer for 30 minutes or up to 4 hours, stirring occasionally.

When ready to serve, adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer pasta or other starch to individual plates and top with bolognese sauce. Finish with a sprinkle of cheese, fresh herbs and crushed red pepper flakes.

More ground beef inspiration:Make this easy, kid-friendly nacho casserole

Penne with pink vodka sauce

Cream, vodka and tomatoes make this sauce sing.

For penne alla vodka, tender tubes of pasta are tossed in a velvety cream of tomato sauce enriched with vodka, flavored with onion and garlic and topped with a drizzle of parmesan cheese and fresh basil. Vodka enhances the flavor of tomatoes by removing and concentrating their inherent sweetness. Plus, the alcohol adds a subtle touch of its own, which contrasts perfectly with the sweet cream of the sauce. If you’d rather omit it, simply substitute the vodka with an equal amount of vegetable broth, chicken broth, or reserved pasta cooking water.

This creamy, comforting dish can be made with items that are probably already in your pantry and it only takes about 20 minutes.

Makes: 4 servings


1 pound penne or other pasta shape of your choice

2 cups tomato sauce or mashed tomatoes

¼ cup vodka or ¼ cup reserved pasta cooking water (see note above)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon dried oregano

½ teaspoon onion powder

½ teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cup heavy or whipping cream

Grated parmesan cheese, to serve

Chopped fresh basil, to serve


Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. Drain, reserving ¼ cup pasta cooking water (if not using vodka). Set aside and cover with foil to keep warm.

In a large saucepan or high-sided skillet, combine the tomato sauce, vodka, olive oil, dried basil, dried oregano, onion powder, garlic powder, ½ tsp coffee salt and ¼ teaspoon black pepper.

Place the saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Reduce the heat to low and stir in the cream. Cook 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in cooked pasta and cook 1 minute to reheat.

Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Garnish with parmesan and fresh basil and serve with additional parmesan on the side.

Is fresh mozzarella worth it? :Absoutely. Here are the recipes to prove it

The ultimate pasta salad

Robin Miller shares his recipe for the ultimate pasta salad.

Two keys to a great pasta salad are finding the right ratio of dressing to noodles and creating the right balance of toppings.

First of all, the dressing must be fabulous. Rather than a quick pairing of olive oil and vinegar, create a dressing that’s flavorful enough to stand on its own with tangy, sweet, and aromatic undertones. And don’t skimp on dressing. I ask for ¾ cup of dressing for twelve ounces of pasta, which may seem like a lot, but the noodles soak up every drop.

Second, when it comes to additions, the pasta takes precedence over the intense flavors of two types of cheese, salami, peppers, red onion, tomatoes, black olives, parsley and basil. In this recipe, colorful corkscrew pasta is tossed with salami, cheese, olives, vegetables and a garlic, herb and lemon vinaigrette for a dish that is as colorful and pretty to look at as it is delicious.

Makes: 12 cups


12 ounces spiral, regular, gluten-free, or tricolor pasta (see note above)

2 cups seeded and chopped bell peppers, any color, or about 10 chopped mini bell peppers

8 ounces fresh mozzarella, either mozzarella pearls or a block of fresh mozzarella, cubed

6 ounces hard salami, such as Genoa, Felino, or Sopressata, cut into bite-size pieces, you can also use pepperoni or ham

10 ounces (about 1 cup) grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

½ cup sliced ​​black olives

⅓ cup finely chopped red onion

¼ cup grated parmesan, preferably freshly grated

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh basil (if using dried basil, add 1/2 tsp to dressing)

For the Italian dressing:

½ cup olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon of honey

1 tsp minced fresh garlic or 1/2 tsp minced dried garlic

½ teaspoon dried oregano

½ tsp dried basil (if not using fresh)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Crushed red pepper flakes, for serving, optional


Cook pasta according to package directions in salted water. Drain, reserving ½ cup pasta cooking water.

Transfer the pasta to a large baking sheet and let cool for 15 minutes.

To make the dressing, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, Dijon mustard, honey, garlic, oregano and basil (if using dried). Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Transfer the cooled pasta to a large bowl and add the peppers, mozzarella, salami, tomatoes, black olives, red onion, Parmesan, parsley and basil (if using fresh).

Add 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta cooking water to the dressing and whisk to combine. Add dressing to pasta mixture and toss to coat. If desired, add more pasta cooking water to the salad. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve (up to 2 days).

More tips:How to make a perfect pasta salad every time

Questions or comments? Email the culinary team at [email protected].