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Video How to make the best spaghetti bolognese sauce

Everyone needs a great everyday Spaghetti Bolognese recipe, and this is mine! The Bolognese Sauce is rich, thick and has beautiful depth of flavour. It’s perfect for a quick midweek meal though if you have the time to simmer this Meat Sauce for a couple of hours, you’ll take it from seriously delish to OMG this is amazing!!

Serve it over pasta, stuff into jacket potatoes, make an epic Lasagna or Baked Spaghetti Pie!

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

Spaghetti Bolognese

We Aussies have a thing about shortening words. Good day is g’day. Pavlova is Pav, afternoon is arvo, mosquitos are mozzies. Sharon is Shazz, Nagisa is Nagi (that’s yours truly).

So it is thoroughly Aussie to shorten Spaghetti Bolognese to Spag Bol!

And here she is – my Spag Bol. Rich, thick, incredible flavour in the sauce even if you only have time for a quick 20 minute simmer. Though if you can slow cook for a couple of hours, it really takes it to another level!

Close up of Bolognese Sauce in a pot, fresh off the stove

What goes in Spaghetti Bolognese

I’ve been loyal to this Meat Sauce recipe since I first learned to cook when I was a teenager. There are 3 little things in this recipe that might be a bit different to Bolognese recipes you’ve seen around:

1. Worcestershire sauce: it just adds that little extra something-something. I get antsy if I get caught in a situation where I have to do without;

2. Beef bouillon cubes (beef stock cubes) for extra depth of flavour in the sauce, to compensate for this being an everyday midweek version rather than a traditional slow cooked Bolognese Ragu which starts with a soffrito (onion, celery, carrot slowly sautéed) as well as pancetta.

3. Sugar, if needed: just a little bit goes a long way to transform the sauce if you happen not to be using high quality, sweet Italian canned tomatoes. Supermarket canned tomatoes here in Australia are notoriously sour. Especially the Australian ones – it pains me so much to say that, but it’s true.

What goes in Spaghetti Bolognese

How to make Bolognese Sauce

The making part is straightforward and quite quick too:

  • Saute garlic and onion – about 3 minutes;

  • Brown the beef – about 2 minutes;

  • Add everything else, give it a good stir then simmer for 20 minutes minimum (midweek), up to 3 hours (weekend indulgence!). Slow cooking makes the beef incredibly tender and the sauce develops extra flavour.

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 all sorts of ways all across Italy and all around the world, but essentially mince meat (usually beef, sometimes combined with pork or veal) in a tomato based sauce flavoured with herbs.

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

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

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

But it is an optional step. Sometimes, you just don’t have the energy to clean yet another pan. I hear ya. 🙂

Bolognese Sauce and pasta tossed in a pan, ready to be served.

What to serve with Spaghetti Bolognese

For a classic Italian feast, serve this with:

  • Garlic Bread – or even more indulgent, with Cheesy Garlic Bread (or go over-the-top with Crack Bread). Or, for a more traditional start, real-deal Italian Focaccia.

  • Garden Salad with Italian Dressing (hit of crisp fresh salad essential!)

  • Tiramisu to finish with an Espresso Martini on the side

For a super quick side salad option, make this Rocket Parmesan Salad with Balsamic Dressing. Probably my most made side salad because it’s literally a 2 minute effortless-no-chop salad!

Meat sauce over spaghetti in a bowl, ready to be eaten

This recipe is the way I have been making Spaghetti Bolognese for decades (gosh it’s scary saying that!!). I really love it, and I think the sauce is rich and loaded with flavour, especially for a 30 minute Bolognese recipe.

Though if you have the time, slow cook it for a couple of hours. The flavour develops and the meat becomes so luxuriously tender.

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

Watch how to make it

Originally published August 2016. Updated with new commentary, new photos and most importantly, recipe video! No change to recipe – I wouldn’t dare! Too many readers love it as it is. 🙂

More family favourites we’ll love forever

  • Beef Stroganoff

  • Meatloaf – so much more than just a hunk of meat in loaf form!

  • Beef Pot Roast

  • Beef Stew

  • Roast Chicken

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