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Wild Rice Bolognese Sauce

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1 (16 ounce) box whole grain spaghetti
1 (20 ounce) package frozen precooked wild rice meatballs
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (26 ounce) jar pasta sauce
1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Wild Rice Bolognese Sauce

Wild rice meatballs are an unusual addition to a flavorful and thick pasta sauce.

  • Medium

About This Recipe

Bolognese Sauce is a classic Italian recipe made of ground meat, celery, onion, carrots, tomatoes, and some sort of dairy product. I love that recipe, but it can take a loooong time to make. This recipe for Wild Rice Bolognese Sauce is different.

There are lots of shortcuts, of course – use pasta sauce, buy preshredded carrots, and so on. But the shortcut for this recipe is my own special secret. And it solves several problems.

First, you don’t have to deal with raw ground meat. I definitely am always nervous when I have that ingredient in my house. I know how to handle it safely, but when you’re in my line of work you tend to get a little hypersensitive. Second, I tend to buy packages of ground beef and let them sit in the fridge until they get thrown out. And third, the wild rice, beef, and seasonings all come in one nice little package.

The secret? Use frozen precooked wild rice meatballs.

Just thaw the meatballs in the microwave oven, crumble them using your fingers or a potato masher, and add them to pasta sauce, onions, garlic, and diced tomatoes. A little bit of cream and the sauce is ready.

I love it. And you will too.

Serve it over hot cooked pasta with Cheesy Toasted Bread Sticks.

Why this recipe for Wild Rice Bolognese Sauce works:

  • Bolognese sauce is usually made from scratch, but with the shortcut of using a bottled pasta sauce, the recipe is must quicker and easier.
  • Cream not only adds flavor, but it smooths out the texture of the sauce and helps smooth out the tomato flavor, which can be sharp.
  • If you don’t have wild rice meatballs, use regular meatballs, or cook 1 pound of ground beef, and add 1 cup cooked wild rice to the recipe.
  • Using butter instead of oil will also smooth out the sharp flavor and adds richness.


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Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.


Put the meatballs into a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 2 to 5 minutes until thawed. Crumble the meatballs using your fingers or a potato masher; set aside.


Melt the butter in a large skillet. Add the onion and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 4 minutes.


Add the pasta sauce, tomatoes, and 1/3 cup water to the onion mixture and simmer.


Cook the spaghetti in the water until al dente.


Add the wild rice meatball mixture to the sauce in the skillet along with the cream. Simmer while the pasta cooks.


Drain the pasta. Serve the bolognese sauce over the pasta and top with the cheese.


Linda is a bestselling cookbook author and home economist who has written 54 books (53 cookbooks and Medical Ethics for Dummies) since 2005. She has worked for Pillsbury since 1988, on the Bake-Off and other projects. Linda has been a web presence since 2002, developing recipes and teaching people how to cook.

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