Spaghetti Alla Bolognese is a super quick and easy pasta recipe that is perfect any night of the week. Much loved by people of all ages this simple spag bowl has a rich flavour and texture, but gets done in 30 mins! Sketti, spaghetti noodles, meat bolognese, whatever you want to call it get your fork ready for some serious twirling!
🤍 Recipe Highlights
I have summarised everything that you will come to know and love (LOVE ❤) about the recipe in the points below:
- Fast cook time: this recipe comes together quickly with a simple 15 minute simmer time making it an easy spag bowl recipe for any night of the week!
- Budget friendly: there is not a lot of expense that goes into creating this dish! You can purchase the mince when it is on special and buy home brand products for everything else coming in right before breaking the bank 😉👌.
- Taste and texture: the bolognese sauce is meaty with chunks of tomatoes, the pasta, positively twirl worthy, ticking both flavour and super yum boxes at the same time.
- Freezer friendly: either freeze then defrost the beef for an easy meal or cook, let cool and freeze the bolognese sauce for a future night. Then cook fresh pasta to serve with it - saving time and energy!
- Italian food: at home is comforting and soul satisfying. Save heading out for the night, eat in and enjoy!
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:
- Spaghetti: readily available with a huge range of budget friendly options, you will easily be able to get this at the supermarket.
- Beef mince (ground beef): if using a lean version, you will need a little more (half a tablespoon) of olive oil to cook it than than full fat beef mince.
- Tomato passata (pureed tomatoes): an excellent ingredient for pasta sauce. It has a smooth reasonably thick texture which provides the bulk of the liquid in the recipe.
- Tomato paste: thick and rich, this adds a depth of flavour to the bolognese sauce.
- Worcestershire sauce: a fantastic ingredient to give a little oomph to recipes. It is a great alternative to using wine or stock in the sauce.
- Garlic: if you can get a chunky good quality jarred minced garlic from the store, use that, otherwise fresh cloves finely chopped are your best bet.
- Dried onion: this will be in the herbs and spices section of the supermarket. It is dried onion flakes, not a powder. It saves time and tears and involves no chopping! (Yea-har!).
- Beef stock cubes: for an extra level of flavour, simply sprinkle over the pan when combining the sauce.
- Olive oil: to brown the mince.
- Salt and pepper: we use a little of each of these to season the beef as it cooks.
- Cheese: either parmesan cheese or pecorino romano freshly grated over the top are a perfect way to finish the dish!
- Parsley: either flat leaf or curly for garnish and a pop of colour!
Tasty Tip: I like to offer a number of substitutions and variations to give you options when making the recipe. If in doubt of any of the above ingredients for the spaghetti bolognese, or wanting alternatives, read this section before diving into the instructions on how to make the recipe below 👍😉.
Here are the step by step instructions to make the recipe. We start by browning the beef in a large sauté pan with the oil and garlic. A wooden spoon will be handy to use at this point too.
- Add the beef to pan with oil with garlic, salt and pepper (Photo 1)
- Cook till browned (Photo 2)
- Add the sauce ingredients (Photo 3)
- Cook then drain the spaghetti (Photo 4)
👩🍳 How to Make Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
To make the spaghetti, start by placing a large sauté pan on the stove. Using high heat and add the olive oil, beef mince, salt and pepper.
Brown this using a wooden spoon to break up any clumps of meat as you go. It will take around 5 to 8 minutes to cook. Next add the sauce ingredients to the pan.
Pour in the passata, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, dried onion, Italian herbs, Worcestershire sauce and crush the beef cubes over the top.
Stir to combine the bolognese, then reduce the heat and let the dish simmer (bubble away) for 15 minutes. You can use this time to cook the spaghetti.
- Simmer the bolognese sauce for 15 mins (Photo 5)
You don't need to have a lid on the pan when you are simmering the sauce, but it helps keep the splash back clean if you want to pop on on!
During the simmer time for the sauce, give it an occasional stir.
🍽 Serving Suggestions
Don't hold back when garnishing the dish and use plenty of pecorino romano (or) parmesan cheese, pepper and parsley.
👍 How to Guide
How to Store
Store leftovers of the spaghetti in a sealed, air tight container or on a plate in the fridge with cling wrap. They will last for 3 days.
How to Freeze
Allow the dish to fully cool before portioning into containers. A good option is to freeze the bolognese sauce separately and then cook fresh spaghetti to go with it the night you want to eat or serve it. Thaw the dish completely before reheating.
How to Reheat
Refrigerated leftovers can be reheated in the microwave, on a plate with cling wrap over the top. They will only take 2 to 3 minutes to heat through. You can also add a couple of drops (teaspoon) to a saucepan and add the leftover bolognese sauce. Turn the heat to medium and stir till heated through.
😉 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 an alternative to the parsley for garnish.
- You can switch up the protein and use a combination of beef and pork or use lamb, chicken or turkey mince.
- For extra vegetables, try diced carrots, slicing mushrooms or chopped celery ribs. These can be added after browning the meat and need to be sautéed for 2 to 3 minutes to cook.
- You can use a different pasta, like linguine, fettuccine, macaroni or spiral pasta.
💡 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:
- Be hands on when cooking the mince. You want to break up the clumps as you go, plus this doesn't take long to cook and will brown quickly.
- Use a large sized pan to ensure all of the ingredients will fit in there nicely without overflow.
- Salt the water when cooking the spaghetti.
- Don't break the spaghetti when cooking it, you will get a greater twirl on your fork if you don't 😉👌.
- If you want to add the cooked spaghetti to the bolognese sauce, reserve about ½ cup of pasta water before draining the spaghetti. This will help bind the spaghetti to the sauce in a seriously yum fashion (pour in and stir together).
🤓 Frequently Asked Questions
Should Bolognese have tomatoes?
Tomatoes are an excellent ingredient for bolognese, helping to plump up the sauce and provide tomato flavour and texture.
Do you put onions or mince first in bolognese?
If using diced onion for bolognese, you can add it in at the same time as the mince, garlic, olive, salt and pepper. If using dried onion, it is best added when adding the rest of the sauce ingredients to the pan as these help to soften the dried onion flakes.
Why do you put sugar in bolognese?
Some recipes call for sugar in the bolognese as a means to balance the flavours of the sauce. It is not however, essential to add this ingredient to the recipe (nor is milk to tenderize the beef).
What is the best meat for bolognese?
Beef mince or a combination of beef mince and pork mince are the most common and popular choices for bolognese. However, you can also use alternate proteins such as lamb, pork, chicken or turkey.
😍 More Easy Dinner Recipes
Din dins, is that what you call it at your place? It can be so easy if you have some good recipes to turn to. Effortless, fuss free and super delicious. Here are the ones I know you will love:
- Pasta Alla Gorgonzola
- Gnocchi Gorgonzola
- Beef Osso Bucco
- Linguine Al Pesto
- Fusilli Alfredo
- Spaghetti Gorgonzola
- Lamb Osso Bucco
- Rigatoni Gorgonzola
- Fusilli Al Pesto
- Fusilli Alfredo
Spaghetti Alla Bolognese
- 1 Large saute pan
- 1 Wooden spoon
- 1 Medium sized sauce pan
- 1 Colander
- 1 Hand held grater
- 500 grams/1 pound beef mince
- 1 tablespoon olive oil Note 1
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 500 grams/1 pound dried spaghetti
- 700 grams/24.5 oz tomato passata Note 2
- 400 grams/14 oz diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon dried onion
- 1 teaspoon Italian herbs dried
- 2 cubes beef stock
- parsley finely chopped
- black pepper
- parmesan cheese or pecorino romano
- Cook the beef mince: add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to 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 ingredients: pour in the passata (tomato puree), diced tomatoes, tomato paste, Worcestershire sauce, dried onion, dried Italian herbs and crushed stock cubes. 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 spaghetti: bring to the boil a medium sized saucepan with a teaspoon of salt. Cook the spaghetti according the the instructions and time indicated on the packet. Then drain and discard the pasta water. Note 3
- Serve: portion the cooked spaghetti onto serving plates. Top with spoonful's of the bolognese sauce. Generously garnish with freshly grated cheese, black pepper and finely chopped parsley.
- Note 1 - Olive oil: if using lean beef mince use 1 ½ tablespoons. If using regular beef mince use 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
- Note 2 - Tomato passata (tomato puree): this might seem like a weird amount. It is the full amount of the standard sized bottle of this sauce.
- Note 3 - Pasta water: I refer in the post to combining the spaghetti and bolognese as an alternative idea to scooping the bolognese on top of the pasta. In which case, reserve some of the pasta water before draining the spaghetti and use (½ cup) to stir together the cooked spaghetti, bolognese sauce and pasta water. If serving the bolognese spooned on top of the spaghetti, you won't need any pasta water.