Good old spaghetti bolognese

This recipe provided the main course for our meal this evening. It’s a great hot-pot dish that you can prepare and then leave bubbling away for an hour and half while you get on with something else. Not to mention how easy it is to make. A fantastic solution to feeding any hungry student!

Spaghetti Bolognese, makes 8

Preparation time : 45 minutes

Cooking time : 1 and 1/2 hours (90 minutes if you prefer)

All that steam has got to my camera - sorry about the blurriness

-500g good quality lean minced beef

-A few tbsp of mild olive oil

-2 onions, finely chopped

-1 carrot, finely chopped

-2 sticks of celery, finely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

-150g pancetta (or smoked bacon rashers), diced

-A few tsp of dried mixed herbs or a handful of torn basil

-2 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes

-2 tbsp tomato purée

-150ml white wine

-100ml water

-150ml milk

-5oog spaghetti or tagliatelle

Ingredients line up

Heat a casserole heat-proof dish/large pan and add the olive oil. Ensure the pan is hot so that the mince sizzles when added. Keep at a medium heat whilst you brown the mince for 10 minutes, using a wooden spoon to break the lumps. The colour should change from raw pink to a rather unappetising grey before the familiar brown.


Remove the mince from the heat and place in a spare bowl. Now prepare the vegetables (easily done in advance). Finely chop the carrot, celery, onions and garlic.

As you can see from the photo, I like to have everything ready – there’s no harm in measuring out the milk, wine and water at this stage. To the same pan/casserole dish, add a little more oil if needed ensuring it is hot. Add the diced pancetta and fry gently for 7-8 minutes (bacon rashers will take a few minutes longer).

Next add the vegetables and turn down the heat cooking for 10 minutes or so until the vegetables have softened (you can put the lid on and stir every few minutes).

Then return the mince and add the herbs. Stir in the tomato purée and wine, allowing the bubble and reduce for a few minutes.

Then stir in the milk and both tins of chopped tomatoes. Slosh the water in the cans to rinse them clean and add all the liquid to the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

Partly cover the pan and leave to simmer gently.

This makes a really tender and rich sauce. After about 45 minutes, cover completely otherwise the sauce may become dry.

Leave for an hour and a half - patience is a virtue

Cook the spaghetti or tagliatelle when ready to serve. Drain and serve with the bolognese. Season with cheese.

Hungry no more - Dig in!

Those observant views will notice this is only the second meal of a three course dinner. Dessert awaits – apple and walnut loaf…


3 comments on “Good old spaghetti bolognese

  1. skyu33 says:

    This good old spaghetti bolognese makes my mouth water!

  2. […] my freezer drawer is one pizza and some bolognese I made earlier. It’s really easy to make (see recipe here) and you can freeze a few portions so that they give you an hearty meal in no […]

  3. […] was thinking all afternoon ‘oh I’ll have that lovely bolognese with spaghetti I’ve taken out for defrosting’ and then what do I do? I only go and pour […]

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