Basic bolognese

If your kids are anything like mine, spaghetti bolognese is always well received. I always make sure I have a couple of packets of mince in the freezer on standby, as if I am having a hard day, spaghetti bolognese is my go to dinner. It’s easy to make, there aren’t too many dishes and I know my big girl will eat it without too much fuss. Tick, tick and TICK. There are so many bolognese recipes out there, each with varying assurances of authenticity. Having absolutely no Italian heritage, I can not guarantee my recipe is authentic, but it is absolutely delicious and is always wolfed down by the family without complaint. Leftovers are even better the next day, and if my husband doesn’t take them for work, I use the leftover mince for pot pies with chips and salad – it’s the meal that keeps on giving!

I based my recipe on this one from bbcgoodfood, but have tweaked it to my taste along the way – my husband always says I can never stick to a recipe!


1 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers short cut bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 sticks of celery, diced
1 carrot, diced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
500g beef mince (I use heart smart or premium)
1 x can of diced tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup of beef stock
1/2 cup red wine
1 dried bay leaf
1 tbsp raw sugar
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tablespoons of fresh oregano, chopped
2 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped (plus extra for garnish)



Warm olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan and add the onion and garlic, cooking until softened. Add the bacon to the pan and fry until crisp. Add the carrot and celery and fry, stirring continuously, until the vegetables have softened.


Increase the heat and add the mince, cooking until browned. Once browned all over, add the mushrooms and cook through.


Add the tinned tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, parsley (leaving some extra for garnish at the end), tomato paste, beef stock, wine, sugar and cherry tomatoes. Stir well to combine all ingredients.


Bring to the boil, then bring down to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 40 mins stirring occasionally, until you have a rich, thick sauce. Check how the sauce is reducing occasionally, and add a little more boiling water if it is getting too thick.

Once cooked, taste and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve, garnished with parsley, with spaghetti and crusty bread.



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