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Spaghetti Bolognese

This is my Brother’s recipe based on a traditional Italian home-cooked dish.


500g/1lb our lean minced beef
125g/4oz smoked streaky bacon, chopped into small strips (we will do this for you if you ask!)
2 large onions, chopped
3 celery sticks, sliced thinly
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
45g/1½oz butter
1 tbsp plain flour
2 tbsp tomato purée
400g/14oz can chopped tomatoes
150ml/5 fl oz red wine
150ml/5 fl oz beef, chicken or vegetable stock (or water)
2 tsp dried oregano, marjoram or dried mixed herbs
salt and freshly ground black pepper

425g/14oz dried spaghetti
15g/½oz butter
freshly ground black pepper
freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Step 1

Heat the oil and butter and in a large frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion and celery and fry them gently together for 5 minutes until they have softened, stirring occasionally. Turn up the heat a little, add the bacon pieces and continue frying for a further 5 minutes, or until the onions start to brown.

Step 2

Stir in the chopped garlic and minced beef and cook, stirring continuously, until the meat has lost its redness. Lower the heat and continue cooking for a further 10 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Step 3

Increase the heat to medium, stir in the tomato purée and the flour and cook for 2 minutes whilst stirring. Stir in the chopped tomatoes, stock and wine and bring to the boil whilst stirring. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the oregano/marjoram/herbs. Partially cover the pan and simmer gently for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Towards the end of the cooking, check the seasoning of the sauce, adding more salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste, and make sure that the sauce is rich and thick – if not then remove the lid and increase the heat under the sauce, simmer for about another 10 minutes whilst stirring regularly until the liquid is reduced and the sauce is rich and thick.

Step 4

About half-way through the 45 minutes sauce (ragù) cooking time above, bring a large pan of water to the boil, adding some salt once it gets hot. As soon as the water is boiling, add the spaghetti and push it down with a wooden spoon to encourage the strands to separate. It’s important to use lots of water so the spaghetti can move freely without sticking together. Cook for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, and then drain, return to the pan, add some freshly ground black pepper and the knob of butter and stir thoroughly.

Step 5

Serve the spaghetti on warmed bowls or plates, spoon a generous portion of the Bolognese sauce (ragù) on top and sprinkle with the freshly grated Parmesan cheese.


Doubling the quantity of minced beef and chopped tomatoes will create a double portion and allow you to freeze half for an even speedier mid-week meal!

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