Spaghetti Bolognese | RecipeTin Eats


Everyone needs a great everyday Spaghetti Bolognese recipe, and this one is mine! Bolognese sauce is rich, thick and has a nice depth of flavor. It’s perfect for a quick mid-week meal, but if you have the time to simmer this meat sauce for a few hours, you’ll take it seriously. for OMG this is amazing!!

Serve it over pasta, stuff it in coated potatoes, make an epic lasagna Where Baked spaghetti pie!

Spaghetti Bolgonese in a bowl sprinkled with fresh parmesan, ready to eat

Spaghetti Bolognese

We Australians like to shorten words. Good day East Hello. Pavlova East cobblestone, afternoon East Arvo, mosquitoes are mozzies. Sharon is Shaz, Nagisa East Nagi (it’s really yours).

It is therefore perfectly Australian to shorten Spaghetti Bolognese for Spag Bowl!

And here it is – my Spag Bol. Rich, thick and amazing flavor in the sauce even if you only have time for a quick simmer for 20 minutes. But if you can slow cook for a few hours, it really takes it to another level!

Close up of bolognese sauce in a pan, fresh out of the oven

What goes into spaghetti bolognese

I’ve been faithful to this meat sauce recipe since I learned to cook as a teenager. There are 3 little things about this recipe that might be a little different from the Bolognese recipes you’ve seen:

1. Worcestershire Sauce: it just adds that little something extra. I become anxious if I am caught in a situation where I have to do without;

2. Beef Bouillon Cubes (beef bouillon cubes) for more depth of flavor in the sauce, to compensate for the fact that this is a daily mid-week version rather than a traditional slow cook Bolognese Ragu which begins with a soffitto (onion, celery, carrot sautéed slowly) as well as pancetta.

3. Sugar, if necessary: just a little is enough to turn the sauce around if you’re not using high-quality sweet Italian canned tomatoes. Supermarket canned tomatoes here in Australia are notoriously sour. Especially Australians – it pains me so much to say that, but it’s true.

What goes into spaghetti bolognese

how to make bolognese sauce

The manufacturing part is simple and quite fast too:

  • Saute garlic and onion – about 3 minutes;

  • Brown the beef – about 2 minutes;

  • Add everything else, stir well then simmer for at least 20 minutes (in the middle of the week), up to 3 hours (the delicacy of the weekend!). Slow cooking makes the beef incredibly tender and the sauce develops extra flavor.

How to make spaghetti bolognese
Close up of Spaghetti Bolgonese in a rustic black bowl, ready to be eaten
Difference between bolognese and meat sauce?

Different name for the same thing! You’ll find bolognese made in all sorts of ways all over Italy and around the world, but mostly ground meat (usually beef, sometimes combined with pork or veal) in a flavored tomato-based sauce. with herbs.

The “right” way to serve pasta: toss with the sauce

As with all my pasta recipes, I include a step to toss the pasta INTO the sauce, rather than just placing the pasta in bowls and pouring it over the sauce.

This makes the Bolognese sauce emulsified, so it thickens, gets shiny, and clings to the spaghetti. No more liquid sauce at the bottom of your bowl of pasta! This is how chefs and Italians make pasta. Try it once, you will be converted!

But it’s a optional step. Sometimes you just don’t have the energy to clean another pan. I hear you. 🙂

Bolognese sauce and pasta mixed in a pan, ready to serve.

What to serve with spaghetti bolognese

For a classic Italian feast, serve it with:

For a super quick side salad optiondo this Parmesan arugula salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Probably my most done side salad as it is literally an effortless 2 minute salad!

Meat sauce on spaghetti in a bowl, ready to eat

This recipe is the way I’ve made spaghetti bolognese for decades (scary to say!!). I really love it, and I find the sauce to be rich and full of flavor, especially for a 30-minute bolognese recipe.

However, if you have time, cook it slowly for a few hours. The flavor develops and the meat becomes so luxuriously tender.

Either way, I hope you like it as much as I do! – Nagi xx

Watch how to do it

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Spaghetti Bolgonese in a bowl sprinkled with fresh parmesan, ready to eat

Spaghetti Bolognese


Tap or hover to scale

Video recipe above. My everyday Bolognese recipe that I make over and over again. This meat sauce has terrific depth of flavor for such a quick recipe – although if you have the time, it’s stellar slow-cooked for a few hours. My 3 “secret” tips are: Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon cubes and a touch of sugar.


  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan or deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic, cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned and softened.

  • Raise the heat to high and add the beef. Cook, breaking it up as you go, until golden brown.

  • Add red wine. Bring to a boil and cook for 1 minute, scraping up the bottom of the pan, until the smell of alcohol disappears.

  • Add the rest of the ingredients except salt and pepper. Stir, bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium so that it bubbles gently. Cook for 20-30 minutes (uncovered), adding water if the sauce becomes too thick for your liking. Stir occasionally.

  • Slow simmer option: really takes this to another level, if you have the time! Add 3/4 cup water, cover with a lid and simmer over very low heat for 2-2.5 hours, stirring every 30 minutes or so. (Note 5) Uncover, simmer 20 minutes to thicken sauce. (Note 6 for slow cooker)

  • Adjust salt and pepper to taste right at the end. Serve over spaghetti – although if you have time I recommend mixing the sauce and pasta according to the steps below.

Tossing sauce and spaghetti (optional, note 4)

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions LESS 1 minute.

  • Take a cup of the pasta cooking water and set it aside, then drain the pasta.

  • Add the pasta to the Bolognese sauce with about 1/2 cup (125 mL) reserved cooking water over medium heat. Stir gently for 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, or until the spaghetti turns red and the sauce thickens.

  • Divide between bowls. Garnish with Parmesan and parsley if desired.

Recipe Notes:

1. Meat – Some traditional slow-cooked Bolognese sauces are made with a mixture of minced beef and pork. Beef for flavor, pork for juiciness. I don’t usually use it mid week.
2. Beef Bouillon Cubes – I use beef oxo cubes (Woolies & Coles). Use any beef stock/bouillon cube or in powder form (called “beef stock granules” in some countries).
If you are using a powder, use 2 teaspoons (i.e. 1 teaspoon for 1 cube).
3. Canned Tomato – Mid-range canned tomatoes can be notoriously sour. A touch of sugar makes an incredible difference. The amount required will depend on how sour/sweet the tomatoes are and the tomato paste – depending on taste. Generally, the better the quality, the less acidic they are, so the less sugar you will need.
4. Mix pasta sauce – See the comment in the article on emulsifying pasta sauce. This is the “proper” Italian way to cook pasta and the way pasta is served in restaurants.
5. Slow Simmer Option – this is how you turn an excellent bolognese into an incredible one that would make your Italian Nonna proud. The key here is ultra-low heat – after simmering, turn the heat down so the surface ripples gently, with a few bubbles here and there. Once the lid has been in place for a while, take a look to check – as it gets hotter with the lid on. I use my smallest burner on the lowest setting.
6. Other remarks:
* Recipe scaling (use the automatic recipe scaler) – If you’re doubling the recipe (or more!), brown the beef in batches. If you try to cook it in one batch, you’ll end up simmering it rather than browning it!
* Slow cooker: This is truly fantastic made in a slow cooker! The meat becomes so tender and the sauce has an amazing flavor. In step 3, cook until the wine liquid is completely gone, then transfer it to the slow cooker in step 4 and cook on low heat for 6 hours.
* Variants: Here are a few ideas for ways to kick things up a notch, if you feel like it!
– Finely chop 1 carrot + celery and sauté with the onion to make a softrito. Cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes for extra wonder!
– Add finely chopped bacon (smokey is the ultimate!) or pancetta, cook with the onion
– 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (my mother used to do this, I do it sometimes! I have seen it in some chef’s recipes)
– Fresh or dried red pepper
– The longer it cooks, the better the Bolognese, and it’s even better the next day!

7. Food per serving, assuming 5 servings, including pasta.

Nutrition Information:

Portion: 396gcalories: 510callus (26%)Carbohydrates: 53.2g (18%)Protein: 40.9g (82%)Fat: 12.6g (19%)Saturated fat: 3.3g (21%)Cholesterol: 143mg (48%)Sodium: 368mg (16%)Potassium: 1046mg (30%)Fiber: 2.7g (11%)Sugar: 8.4g (9%)Vitamin A: 1450UI (29%)Vitamin C: 34.7mg (42%)Calcium: 40mg (4%)The iron: 22.1mg (123%)

Originally published August 2016. Updated with new reviews, new photos, and most importantly, a recipe video! No change in recipe, I wouldn’t dare! Too many readers like it the way it is. 🙂

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