A Spaghetti Bolognese is a family favourite and this quick and easy version is simple yet delicious. There are many different versions of a bolognese, not only with the recipe, but also the spelling! Is it Bolognaise or Bolognese? This recipe is straightforward and doesn't use any fancy ingredients. The focus is on creating a great dish that's manageable and doesn't take too much time.
Since you've decided to cook a quick and easy spaghetti bolognese, you may want to take the opportunity to cook a batch. This not only saves on energy costs, it gives you a decent fall back for a busy day. You can prepare this ahead of time if you need to and just re-heat it when you're ready. I would always try to cook the pasta as I need it.
Cooking a batch
You may want to double or treble this recipe and keep some in the freezer for a busy day. It does take slightly more time to cook a bigger quantity as frying the meat takes longer, but I always double or treble this recipe. I also use this sauce in my beef lasagna, which is very quick to make if you've already got the sauce ready. If you are doubling or trebling the quantities, like most recipes, you won't need to double or treble the liquid. The liquid should just about cover the ingredients, but not feel like the meat, carrots and onions are swimming in sauce. The sauce will thicken slightly when cooking. Just add the liquid ingredients slowly and you will know when to stop. It's difficult to give precise instructions around this because tinned tomatoes for example vary considerably in how much liquid they contain. Some passatas are thicker than others
Try to buy locally farmed beef if possible. Local beef from grass fed cattle has a much lower carbon footprint than industrially farmed imported beef. Knowing where your meat comes from is important. You can find more information about this on my Eating Sustainably page. Olive oil, black pepper and even the red wine are all now available as Fairtrade products, which makes a huge difference to some of the world's poorest famers. As always, try to buy the vegetables loose to minimise packaging and from local producers. Keeping food miles low not only helps support the local economy, but also lowers the carbon footprint.
The bolognese sauce can be stored in the fridge for 3-4 days. It can be frozen for 3-4 months.
- 2 tablespoon olive oil organic, fairtrade
- 2 onions peeled and diced, organic
- 2 carrots peeled and diced, organic
- 500 g lean minced beef
- 400 g chopped tomatoes organic, use tinned
- 200 g passata organic
- 1 teaspoon italian seasoning or dried mixed herbs
- 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce organic
- 125 ml red wine organic, fairtrade or low alcohol cooking wine
- 1 dash black pepper freshly ground, organic, fairtrade
- 1 dash salt
- 360 g dried spaghetti organic
- 25 g Parmesan cheese organic, to serve (optional)
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan or oven proof casserole dish over a medium heat and fry the onion and carrot for 5 minutes until soft, then remove and place to one side.
- Add the mince to the pan and cook for 3 - 4 minutes until browned. Break it up with a wooden spoon so there are no lumps. If you are cooking a larger amount of mince, you may need to do this in batches or you will end up stewing it rather than frying.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, passta, herbs, worcestershire sauce and red wine and season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can place it in the oven at 180°C/360°F/gas mark 4 if you prefer at this point for up to 1 hour. This does really enhance the flavour and is more convenient if you need to go out.
- 15 minutes before eating, bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions.
- Drain the spaghetti and serve with the bolognaise spooned over the top and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.
Nutrition per serving
The Nutritional Values are computer generated estimates based on industry standards and are provided as a helpful guide only.