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Spaghetti Bolognese

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This spaghetti bolognese is perfect for busy weeknights or relaxed weekend meals. It combines hearty beef mince, robust tomatoes, creamy parmesan, and fragrant herbs into a dish that’s incredibly satisfying yet simple to make.

Spaghetti Bolognese in a bowl with basil


Spaghetti Bolognese hails from Europe, particularly inspired by Italian cuisine. However, it has become a beloved staple worldwide, appreciated for its flavorful, comforting qualities.

While traditionally it’s not considered an ‘authentic’ Italian dish (as traditional Bolognese Ragu is typically served with tagliatelle, not spaghetti), this adaptation has carved out its own place in the culinary world.

Ingredient Notes

  • Spaghetti: 500g of spaghetti is required for this recipe. If you’re looking for alternatives due to dietary restrictions, you can use gluten-free or whole wheat pasta.
  • Extra virgin olive oil: We’re using 75ml of this. While other oils can be used, extra virgin olive oil lends an authentic Mediterranean flavor.
  • Onion: One large onion, finely diced, forms the base of our sauce, imparting a sweet, caramelized flavor when sautéed.
  • Garlic: The recipe calls for 3 cloves of finely sliced garlic. Garlic adds a layer of aromatic intensity that’s simply irresistible.
  • Beef mince: For this recipe, we need 500g of beef mince. Opt for a higher-fat content mince for a richer and more flavorful Bolognese sauce. Alternatively, if you prefer a leaner option, choose mince with a lower fat percentage.
  • Passata: If you can’t find it, crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce can work as a substitute.
  • Dry red wine or white wine: 175ml of this is used to deglaze the pan and enhance the flavor of the sauce. If you prefer not to cook with alcohol, you can replace it with beef broth.
  • Fresh Basil: Add fresh basil stalks, finely sliced, to the sauce for a distinct, sweetly aromatic flavor.
  • Oregano: This herb will add an earthy, slightly bitter taste to the sauce, complementing the other ingredients wonderfully.
  • Sea Salt & Pepper: Season the dish to taste with sea salt and pepper. These two basic seasonings will help enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
  • Parmesan: Last but not least, you’ll need parmesan for topping. Its salty, nutty flavor makes the perfect finish for our Spaghetti Bolognese.

Chef Tips

  • Sauté the Vegetables: The sautéing process is an art in itself. Gently sauté the onions on a medium-low heat until they’ve softened and released their natural sugars. The caramelization of the onions is vital for developing a rich, sweet flavor base for the sauce.
  • Beef Mince Matters: The choice of beef mince is an important factor in determining the final taste and texture of your Bolognese. Opt for a higher fat mince (15-20% fat content) for a richer, more flavorful Bolognese. The higher fat content imparts a deeper flavor and ensures a succulent texture.
  • Deglazing Delights: Properly deglazing the pan with wine is crucial for incorporating the flavorful bits stuck at the bottom of the pan back into the sauce. Failing to deglaze properly can lead to these bits potentially burning later on during the simmering process, which could impart a bitter taste to the sauce.
  • Simmer and Stir: A good Bolognese takes time. Allow the sauce to simmer gently on a low heat for at least one hour. This long cooking process allows the flavors to meld together harmoniously. Make sure to stir the sauce every 15-30 minutes to prevent it from sticking to the pan and burning. If the sauce seems too thick, don’t hesitate to add a splash of water to loosen it.
  • Seasoning: Seasoning is not a one-time process. Start by seasoning your beef during browning and then adjust as necessary after adding the sauce ingredients. Always remember to give your sauce a final taste before serving. Adjusting the seasoning at the end ensures the perfect balance of flavors and brings out the depth of the other ingredients.

Storage and Leftovers

One of the best things about Spaghetti Bolognese is how well it keeps, making it a wonderful option for meal prep or for enjoying leftovers the next day.

Cooling and Refrigerating: Allow any leftover Spaghetti Bolognese to cool down to room temperature. Once it’s cooled, transfer it to an airtight container and refrigerate. It will stay fresh and tasty for up to 3-4 days.

Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze the Bolognese sauce separately. Simply allow it to cool completely, then transfer to a freezer-safe container or bag. It will retain its flavor and quality for up to 3 months. Note: it’s better to freeze the sauce separate from the spaghetti, as pasta can become mushy when reheated.

Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy your leftovers, if it’s been refrigerated, you can reheat the Spaghetti Bolognese in the microwave, stirring occasionally until heated through. If it’s been frozen, let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator and then reheat on the stove or in the microwave, adding a splash of water or broth if necessary to loosen the sauce.

Repurposing Leftovers: Leftover Bolognese sauce can be used in a variety of other dishes! It can be a great addition to a lasagna bolognese or tortellini.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I make this Spaghetti Bolognese recipe without wine?

Yes, you can. The wine in this recipe is used to deglaze the pan and add depth of flavor. However, if you prefer not to cook with wine, you can substitute it with beef or vegetable broth. You could also use a splash of balsamic vinegar for a bit of acidity.

How can I make my Bolognese sauce thicker?

If your sauce is too thin, simply let it simmer uncovered on low heat. The liquid will slowly evaporate, thickening the sauce. Make sure to stir it occasionally to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan.

More Recipes You May Like…

If you liked this ground meat pasta recipe try this Italian Sausage Pasta or American chop suey recipe.

Spaghetti Bolognese in a bowl with basil

Spaghetti Bolognese

Jack Slobodian
Spaghetti bolognese is probably one of the most popular dishes through out Europe. The combination of beef mince, tomatoes, parmesan & herbs, creates something delicious thats easy to make.
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Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 5 People
Calories 858 kcal



  • 500 g Spaghetti
  • 75 ml Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large Onion finely diced
  • 3 cloves Garlic finely sliced
  • 500 g Beef mince
  • 750 g Passata
  • 175 ml Dry red wine or white wine
  • Fresh basil Stalks can be finely sliced & simmered with the sauce
  • Oregano
  • Sea salt & pepper


  • Parmesan


  • In a large sauté pan over a medium-low heat sauté the onions for 6-7 minutes until soften. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute.
  • Turn up the heat and add the beef mince and season with salt and pepper. Now break up the mince using a wooden spoon and keep stirring letting the meat liquid evaporate. Once the mince has browned turn down the heat to medium.
  • Next add the wine and with a wooden spoon deglaze the pan (scrape any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan). Once the wine has evaporated add the passata and oregano. Bring to the boil then turn the heat to low and let simmer for at least 1 hour adding water if needed. Check and stir once every 15-30 minutes.
  • When the Bolognese is nearly finished, add the basil then taste and season with salt and pepper. Then cook the pasta in a pot of generously salted boiling water until al dente. Drain the pasta and stir into the Bolognese sauce.
  • Serve fresh from the pan with freshly grated parmesan.


  • Rinse the passata jar with 100ml water, shake and add into the sauce.


Calories: 858kcalCarbohydrates: 92gProtein: 33gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 10gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 20gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 71mgSodium: 117mgPotassium: 1203mgFiber: 7gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 766IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 76mgIron: 6mg
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