Buttoned Up Bolognese

This is a healthier take on the traditional Italian Bolognese Pasta.

Warning! It makes a ton of food!

Yields: 16 Servings of ½ cup pasta and ¾ cup of sauce

Bolognese Pasta
The Correct Portion of this Pasta


1 lb short pasta, such as rotini
10oz bag matchstick-cut carrots
2 ½ cups chopped celery
2 ½ cups chopped onion
1 Tbsp olive oil
6 whole strips bacon, chopped
1 tsp nutmeg
1 lb lean ground beef
2 (28oz) cans petite diced tomatoes, with liquid
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ tsp sea salt
2 cups heavy whipping cream

Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, then sauté carrots, celery, and onion until tender. Mix the chopped bacon and the nutmeg separately  then add to skillet, along with the ground beef. Cook until beef is browned. Add the diced tomatoes, pepper, and sea salt, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until tomatoes cook down into a red sauce. Add heavy whipping cream and stir until warm. Serve over pasta.

Nutrition Information:

Nutrition Disclaimer: I am not a certified nutritionist…these are just the calculations I’m pretty sure are close to correct. I use BodyMedia to generate my information.

Calories: 313
Fat: 15.8g
Saturated Fat: 8.8g
Cholesterol: 61.7mg
Sodium: 290.7mg
Carbohydrates: 28.6g
Dietary Fiber: 2.7g
Sugar: 5.2g
Protein: 11.6g

Dietary Exchange: 2 Starch, 1 Meat, 2 Fat
Jenny Craig: There’s a bit more fat and a bit less meat than a typical Jenny meal, but this certainly wouldn’t hurt your plan as a dinner or lunch.
Weight Watchers: 8 Points (using calculatorcat.com).

When we made this dish, I thought for sure all the veggies would make for a huge serving. What I didn’t account for was all the heavy whipping cream. Gah– talk about a lot of calories and fat. Still, there are no bad foods, only bad portions. This just meant that the healthy portion size for this dish was smaller than I anticipated.

However, when you consider that the typical bolognese pasta dish sits somewhere around 1000 calories (Atlantic Bread Company’s bolognese is 980 calories, with 180g of carbs…yikes), then we weren’t doing too bad.

At 313 calories for a decent portion, it’s safe to eat…hence the name “Buttoned Up” Bolognese. Get it?

We used a ton of veggies, limited our oil, and chose lean ground beef. Traditional bolognese calls for panchetta. Since we didn’t have access to that, we used bacon mixed with nutmeg and I think it did a great job creating the traditional bolognese taste.
Truth be told, Shawn and I made this with fettuccine noodles, which is more typical. While enjoying the meal with Thomas and his brother CR, we all agreed a shorter noodle would be preferable  So when I ate the leftovers the next day, I used rotini (as well as the correct measurements) and that’s what you’re seeing in the picture at the top of the page.


Shawn made his famous “Shawnikaze” cocktails to enjoy with the pasta. I’d tell you what’s in them, but it’s a secret. I had to provide a picture though– they were just so pretty.

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