Fusilli Bolognese is a quick and easy recipe that takes traditions from a classic spaghetti bolognese. With a hearty meat sauce, chunky tomatoes and pasta that clings to the bolognese, you can't go wrong in whipping this up. A family favourite that can be placed on the table in under 30 mins, this fusilli pasta recipe is a real winner (but not chicken dinner 😉!)
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Comfort food: bolognese fusilli is one of the most satisfying meals you can get your fork stuck into. Not only is there pasta, there is a delicious and hearty meaty sauce sprinkled with cheese. It is almost too good to be true, right 😉.
- Taste and texture: we all love getting our twirl on in a big bowl of spaghetti bolognese, but equally as satisfying is getting your fork and piercing it into meat ladened saucy pieces of pasta that capture the tomato flavour in an irresistibly delicious way.
- Family friendly: this is a recipe that the whole family can enjoy together. There is not a great deal of garlic in the recipe and it blends in subtly with the other ingredients. The dried Italian herbs add flavour to the dish but not in a manner that it strays too far from being a simple bolognese sauce recipe.
- Freezer friendly: if meal prepping is your thing, you can whip up a batch of this dish on the weekend. Let it cool then portion into containers for night's when you know you won't have time to start from scratch.
The photo below is to show you everything you need to make the recipe. Please refer to the printable recipe card for specific ingredient measurements as well as detailed instructions.
As you can see the recipe calls for:
- Fusilli: this is a type of pasta that is also known as rotini. It has a spiral shape and texture.
- Beef mince (ground beef): the main protein used in the dish. This is best thawed prior to cooking if it has been frozen.
- Tomato passata: smooth and rich in tomato flavour, it is the key ingredient which forms the basis of the bolognese sauce.
- Diced tomatoes: a great open the tin and throw them into the sauce ingredient, plain without herbs is the best sort to use.
- Tomato paste: sometimes used as a quick pizza sauce, as above with the tomatoes try and get a plain version that has no additional herbs added.
- Dried onion: onion flavour, but no peeling, chopping or dicing an onion. You will find this in the herbs and spices section of the supermarket.
- Italian herbs: a common dried herb combination that you will find in every supermarket from Walmart to Tesco, Aldi, Safeway, Woolies and Coles. This will be found in the herbs and spices section of the supermarket.
- Garlic: crushed or finely chopped cloves, whichever you have on hand will be perfect to use. The recipe calls for 1 tablespoon which is 2 - 3 cloves. Use less if garlic is not your thing.
- Olive oil: we use this in the pan to start with, helping to cook the garlic and brown the beef mince.
- Salt and pepper: a little of each to season the beef as it cooks.
Tasty tip: optional and up to you however, cracked black pepper, parmesan cheese and finely chopped parsley are excellent ways to garnish the finished dish. My substitutions and variations also provide some other options.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by cooking the beef mince at high heat with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Heat oil, garlic, beef mince, salt and pepper (Photo 1)
- Brown the beef mince (Photo 2)
- Add the bolognese sauce ingredients (Photo 3)
- Cook fusilli, reserving some pasta water (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Fusilli Bolognese
Start by adding the olive oil to a large sauté pan. Using high heat add the beef mince, garlic, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring for 5 to 8 minutes, breaking up any clumps of meat as you go.
Next add the tomato passata, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried onion and Italian herbs. Stir these together till consistently mixed then turn the heat down. Allow the dish to simmer (bubble away at low heat) for 15 minutes and use this time to cook the fusilli on a separate element. You will notice that the sauce thickens and reduces in liquid volume during this time.
- Simmer the sauce on low for 15 mins (Photo 5)
- Add cooked fusilli to sauce (Photo 6)
- Add reserved pasta water (Photo 7)
- Stir to heat through (Photo 8)
Before draining the cooked pasta, use a heatproof jug and spoon out some of the water. This gets added to the sauce later as a means to bind the bolognese to the fusilli.
Once you have drained and reserved the water add the cooked pasta to the bolognese sauce. Pour in the leftover pasta water (about ¼ cup) and stir to mix everything together. Now the dish is ready to be garnished and popped on the table!
🍽 Serving Suggestions
This dish goes down a treat with a side of Turkish Garlic Bread, Ciabatta Garlic Bread or the Garlic Pizza Bread. If you are having an Italian style feast at home or feeding a crowd the Bruschetta Pizza and Ciabatta Pizza are recipes which pair well with the bolognese.
Of course you will also want to use cracked black pepper, grated parmesan cheese (or you can use pecorino romano) and some freshly chopped parsley. There is a whole lot of yum that goes both in and on top of this dish 😁.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the dish on a plate with cling wrap or in sealed, air tight containers in the fridge. They will last up to 3 days.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool. Then portion into zip lock bags that you squeeze the air out of and then lay flat in the freezer. They can be frozen for up to 3 months.
How to Reheat
Thaw frozen fusilli bolognese in the fridge overnight as you will be the best results if you reheat from frozen and not try and defrost using the microwave. Once the bolognese is thawed, you can add it to a sauce pan on the stove and use medium heat with a drop or 2 of oil to stir till heated through. It will take between 5 to 10 mins. Or you can reheat the leftovers in the microwave, this will only take about 2 to 3 minutes on high.
😉 Substitutions and Variations
Here are my sub ins and outs that you might be thinking about as you read the post and I will tell you if I think they will work or why they won't:
- Fresh basil leaves are a great alternative garnish to the parsley.
- If you forget to reserve some of the pasta water, you can add the equivalent amount of beef stock (broth) instead.
- If you want to add a splash of white wine or red wine you can. The best time to do this is when the sauce is simmering.
- Want to add a little spice? Try adding a teaspoon of red pepper flakes when you add the dried onion and Italian herbs.
- If you want to try this recipe with other meats you can use pork, chicken, lamb or turkey.
- You can use a plant based meat product if you wish to also, the recipe will stay the same and the equivalent amount need to be used.
- Want to add vegetables? Try sliced mushrooms, celery ribs, peeled chopped carrots or onion.
💡 Tasty Tips
Here are my top tips and tricks that I want to share with you so that you master the recipe from the get go:
- Have everything ready to go from the start. This is a fast cooking dish and you simply add one thing after the other.
- It is not necessary to put a lid on the sauce pan when you are simmering the Bolognese sauce - you can if you have one and want to save cleaning the splashback however!
- Use a wooden spoon as you stir and combine the sauce. This won't scratch the pan surface.
- You can add a dollop of ricotta cheese to the top of the bologense if you want the additional flavour and texture.
- If you are using lean ground beef mince you can use 1 and ½ or 2 tablespoons of olive oil. If however, you are using regular beef mince, it will have enough fat that 1 tablespoon will be plenty.
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
What is another name for fusilli pasta?
Fusilli pasta can also be known as rotini. Spiral pasta (spirali) is very similar in texture and appearance, however it is not the exact same as fusilli pasta.
Is fusilli pasta good for sauce?
Fusilli pasta is excellent for sauce as the twirl shape of the pasta lends itself to capturing sauce and meat within the curls.
What sauce goes well with fusilli?
Fusilli goes very well with bolognese sauce, pestos and creamy pasta sauce.
😍 More Easy Pasta Recipes
If getting your fork stuck into a big steaming hot bowl of pasta is your thing, I understand you and where you are coming from. I also have some more recipes along these lines that I think you will enjoy:
- Chicken Spaghetti Bolognese
- Fusilli Al Pesto
- Fusilli Alfredo
- Baked Pasta Bolognese
- Macaroni Bolognese
- Garlic Spaghetti
- Garlic Prawn Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Chicken Spaghetti
- Smoked Salmon Spaghetti
- Instant Pot Pasta with Jar Sauce
It is time to get our fork into rotini bolognese my friend. Or want to use leftover bolognese sauce in a novel way? Try the Bolognese Pizza ❤.
- 1 Sauté pan
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Sauce pan
- 1 Colander
- 1 Heat proof jug
- 1 Hand held grater
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic or 2-3 cloves finely chopped
- 500 grams/16 oz beef mince
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
- 700 grams/ 24.5 grams tomato passata
- 400 grams/14 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 tbs tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried onion
- 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs
- 500 grams/16 oz fusilli Note 1
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water Note 2
- cracked black pepper
- parmesan cheese
- parsley finely chopped
- Cook the beef mince: heat 1 and ½ tablespoons of olive oil in a large heavy based pan at high heat. Add the garlic, beef mince, salt and pepper. Cook till browned (5 to 8 mins) and use a wooden spoon to stir and break up any clumps of meat as you go. The mince will turn a medium brown colour as it cooks.
- Add the sauce: pour in the passata (tomato puree), diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried onion and dried Italian herbs. Stir to combine.
- Simmer: turn the heat to low, place a lid over the pan (optional, not essential) and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Cook fusilli: bring to the boil a medium sized saucepan with a teaspoon of salt. Cook the fusilli according to the instructions on the packet. Then drain and reserve ¼ cup pasta water.
- Combine: add the cooked fusilli to the bolognese sauce as well as the ¼ cup of pasta water. Stir to combine.
- Serve and enjoy: portion the fusilli bolognese onto serving plates. Garnish liberally with freshly grated cheese, cracked black pepper and finely chopped parsley.
- Note 1 - Fusilli: rigatoni or penne pasta are good alternatives that can be used. As well as 'spiral' pasta.
- Note 2 - Reserved pasta water: this is the water that the pasta has cooked in. Before you drain the pasta, scoop some out with a heatproof jug or drain with a colander and jug underneath. It helps bind the sauce to the pasta.