This Spaghetti Bolognese is not any bolognese its the only spaghetti bolognese that you need! This from scratch easy bolognese can be made in 20 mintues, an hour or more and for even better flavor, the day before.
What is Spaghetti Bolognese? It's an Italian meat-based tomato sauce and spaghetti recipe. It's also one of the most popular family friendly dinners around the world.
Imagine my surprise when I realised that there was no spaghetti bolognese recipe on this blog! It's one of our most functional meals😀 You would think that with all the love I give Tomato Sauce and Marinara Sauce I would have posted this moons ago. However, here we are and it's still as good as the very first time. Tomato sauce is so convenient, serve it over Pasta With Meatballs, use it to layer Lasagana sheets, it has so much depth in flavor.
Spaghetti Bolognese in 30 Minutes
The full recipe card below shares with you a recipe for the classic soffritto bolognese. The soffritto bolognese uses veggies; onion, carrots and celery which are diced and slow cooked. That's how the recipe starts and more on a Soffrito here. However, you can also make the 30 minute version which is below.
Spaghetti Bolognese can take 20 minutes to cook (30 minutes the entire recipe) and taste wonderful or you can cook it for an hour (or more) for the extra depth in flavor. As mentioned in so many of my tomato sauce recipes, we always have a sauce on simmer, it's a normal day around here. Some days it's a quick sauce and on other days it's much longer and sometimes leading onto the next day where it continues to cook. It all depends on the time. The longer you leave the sauce to cook the deeper the flavors.
If you really want spaghetti bolognese for dinner in under 30 minutes without compromising on all that deliciousness then you have to amp it up big time!
How To Make A Quick Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe Delicious!
The only way you can do this is by flavoring it up with good whole plum tomatoes, passata and tomato paste and level the flavor up with spices.
Spice = Flavor, it's that simple! And it doesn't have to be hot. Spicy food is not necessarily "hot food". That just depends on which pepper was used and in which spice.
Meat: A good ratio of fat plays a role since fat equals flavor. Lean beef mince with 10% or 20% fat is good. When you use meat with no fat you might find yourself having to add oil because the meat will possibly stick to the pot
Taste and adjust, you might have to add a little sugar to balance out the acidity in the tomatoes, a few drizzles of Worcestershire sauce but then it's no longer an authentic Italian Bolognese but no one's taking notes.
The longer the sauce takes to cook, the less it will have a tomato acidity taste so you don't need to add sugar. If there's an Italian person watching you add sugar into bolognese, you're in big trouble 🙂
Spaghetti Bolognese Ingredients
What do you need to make spaghetti bolognese?
A few ingredients but don't forget that the quality of the ingredeints plays a role in the taste so try and use the best you can find.
Olive oil: We use this extra virgin olive oil.
Onions, garlic, carrots and celery (Soffritto) This is your flavor base for the recipe and builds layers of flavor for what will be the best sauce!
Fresh parsley and basil: Fresh basil is always best added in a tomato sauce. I prefer to go with chopped fresh parsley for a bolognese. It's only added after cooking.
Tomatoes: Use as good a can of quality tomatoes that you can find. If not, level it up with more tomato paste, passata and salt. Check out my easy tomato sauce recipe for more ideas.
Tomato paste Just like the tomatoes and the aromatics, tomato paste adds concentrated flavor. Always a good idea to include this into the aromatics and not into the the liquid part of the recipe.
Red wine If you don't like the taste or don't like cooking with it then use stock or water. This sauce cooks for 1.5 to 2. 5 hours, so you don't necessarily taste the wine but it does add a richness to the spaghetti Bolognese.
Passata For that robust color and tomato sauce flavor.
How To Make Spaghetti Bolognese
Tip: Use a Dutch oven or any saucepan or non stick pan as long as it has high enough sides to hold your tomato sauce.
Soffrito: Complety optional but the best flavor base and the beginning of a great sauce. If you have the time!
Start by heating the oil and cooking the soffritto. Onions, garlic, celery and carrots. Also add a pinch of salt, medium heat. Cook till soft 10 minutes.
If not making a Soffrito go straight to "heat the oil and cook the mince" which is next;
Beef Mince: Add the beef mince and use a wooden spoon to break it up so that it can not only cool but collect the soffritto flavors better as it cooks. Keep stirring/mixing until the beef mince goes from pink to brown.
Without the soffritto brown the mince first in oil then add the onions, garlic, seasoning and spice.
The images below had no soffritto base. For a soffrito base step by step, follow the recipe card below. Instead of adding the soffrito you go straight to heat the and cook the beef mince.
Tomato paste: Stir it in for a couple.of seconds.
Wine: What wine to use? If you can drink it you can cook with it. Cabernet and Merlot are very good with beef.
Add the tomatoes: Break them up in the pot with a wooden spoon.
Passata: Finally add the Passata to finish off our bolognese and add the cooked spaghetti.
- There's no need to drain the pasta out. For this recipe is's best to transfer the cooked pasta from the pot to the sauce.
- Don't rush it, medium or low heat because tomato sauce doesn't like being rushed, you can tell by the way it bubbles rapidly and burns you when splattering everywhere!
How To Serve Spaghetti Bolognese
Do as the Roman's do, with wine😀
Variations To This Spaghetti Bolognese
- Add part beef and part pork mince. I have used a combination of meat when making these meatballs however, for a spaghetti bolognese, I usually go with just beef mince.
- Add Worcestershire sauce for a non Italian bolognese
- Sugar to balance out the acidity in the tomatoes is what you may want to add but as I mentioned earlier, a slow cook does'nt need sugar but feel free to add it.
- Add mushrooms, pancetta, or bacon.
- Stock cubes or any stock flavor
If you use good quality tomatoes and they simmer for long many other ingredients are not even necessary. This Italian classic is a classic because of its simplicity, good quality ingredients that are left to simmer and that's what distinguishes it from a store-bought sauce or a 10 minute Bolognese.
Remember that adding the variation ingredients is pretty important if you're making this in 15 minutes so that you can try and build that long simmer up through more ingredients and a shorter time.
Make Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Ahead
So convenient! Make it a day before, even 2 days, keep it properly sealed in the fridge and serve with cooked pasta when you are ready. Simply reheat on the stove with a dash of water.
Spaghetti bolognese freezes very well for 2 to 3 months I would suggest. Tip: Always freeze your food in smaller quantities if you think you may need it in portions.
30 Minutes or Less Easy Pasta Recipes
These recipes are all ready in 30 minutes or less
- Pasta Ziti Al Tonno Calabrese Recipe 10 Minutes
- Italian Tomato Pancetta 5 Ingredients 30 Minute Recipe
- Balsamic Mushroom Pasta - Under 10 Ingredients in Less Than 10 Minutes
- Easy Chicken and Pasta Recipe
- Spicy Sauce Pasta
More Italian Recipes
- Tomato, Bacon and Spaghetti
- Classic Spaghetti Carbonara
- Spaghetti With Anchovies, Garlic, Olives and Parmesan
- Spaghetti Meatballs Recipe
- Bucatini all'Amatriciana
If you try this Spaghetti Bolognese recipe please feel free to leave me a comment and a star rating! And if you take a photo of your dish and share it on Instagram, please tag me @anosmickitchen and use the hashtag #anosmickitchen because I love seeing your remakes! Happy cooking😊
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Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
For the soffritto
- 3 tbsps. olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 celery stalks, chopped fine
- 2 carrots, chopped fine
- ¼ teaspoon salt
Without the soffritto (add oil, onions and garlic and these ingredients)
Optional at the end of cooking
- fresh basil or parsley, chopped
- taste for salt and pepper
- parmesan cheese
- Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or non stick pan (large with sides to prevent the sauce from spilling over)3 tbsps. olive oil
- Soffritto: Cook the onions, celery, carrots and a pinch of salt for 10 minutes on low heat. Add the garlic and cook another 1 to 2 minutes.1 onion, finely chopped, 3 garlic cloves, minced, 2 celery stalks, chopped fine, 2 carrots, chopped fine, ¼ teaspoon salt
- Brown the meat: Add the beef mince and cook till nicely browned. While browning add the spices and seasoning. Use a wooden spoon to break the mince up as it cooks.500 grams beef mince, salt and pepper to taste, ½ teaspoon garlic & herb, ¼ teaspoon Italian meat seasoning
- The short version: Skip the 10 minute soffritro and instead heat the oil, brown the meat, season/spice and add onions and garlic.
- Add the tomato paste, red wine and let it cook through on medium heat, about 4 to 5 minutes.2 tbsps tomato paste, ½ cup red wine
- Slow simmer: Add the tomatoes and passata and mix. Bring the pot up to a boil and then drop the heat to a low simmer and cook for 2 hours. Check halfway through and you will possibly need to add a cup of water to keep it going and not burning. Keep the lid on at a slant. When you see it's reaching a thickness that you are happy with, remove the lid for the last 30 minutes. This is cooked on very low heat with a simmer here and there. It can go for 2.5 hours with the occasional stir.2 canned tomatoes, 800 grams (2 medium 400 grams each), 1 cup tomato passata
- 30 Minute version: Cook on medium to high heat for 20 to 30 minutes with no lid. To amp up the flavor in the shorter version, add a tablespoon of sauce and make sure to add the spices in the beginning. The sauce can be any of the taste you prefer: Worcestershire sauce, soy, braai/barbecue. You can also add beef stock cubes for added flavor and a teaspoon of sugar to cut the acidity in the tomatoes.
- Remove the pot/saucepan from the stove, and as it cools down, add fresh parsleyor basil.fresh basil or parsley, chopped
- Serve with cooked spaghetti, parmesan cheese and freshly chopped herbs.parmesan cheese, taste for salt and pepper
- Cook the spaghetti according to packet instructions but with a minute or so less than required. Using a large spoon or pasta ladle to transfer the spaghetti directly from the pot to the sauce pot (no draining) while the sauce pot is on medium heat. The pasta will transfer with some of its water, that's good. You don't need much, a couple of splashes is okay. Leave it on the stove for about minute as you stir. Remove from heat and serve. Extra layer of flavor: Add cheese and fresh chopped parsley into the sauce and spaghetti mix.400 grams spaghetti
- Short cooking time: Without the soffritto brown the mince first in oil then add the onions, garlic, seasoning and spice. Continue with the rest of the recipe.