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Whisk yourself away to the heart of Italy with this soul-warming Spaghetti Bolognese. Each bite bursts with the rich flavors of ground beef, aromatic herbs, and robust tomatoes, promising an unforgettable dining experience right at your table.
The Best And Easiest Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
Step into a culinary journey with this Spaghetti Bolognese, a dish that’s more than just a meal – it’s a memory. Every twirl of spaghetti and every morsel of that rich, hearty sauce teleports you straight to the cozy dinners at my sister’s place. She whipped up this dish so often, and I’d never miss a chance to drop by.
With every bite, we shared laughs, stories, and the unmatched flavor of a Bolognese made with love. Dive in, and let this plate create memories for you, just like it did for us. With familiar ingredients and a few simple steps, you’ll have a comforting bowl of pasta that rivals any upscale Italian eatery. It’s the kind of dish that effortlessly bridges the gap between gourmet and homestyle cooking.
Why You’ll Love This Spaghetti Bolognese
- Homemade Luxury: Elevate your regular pasta nights with this Spaghetti Bolognese, offering the lavish taste of fine dining, but in the comfort of your own home.
- Memory-Making Meal: Just as it’s a cherished dish from my sister’s kitchen, this Bolognese is destined to become a favorite in your family, fostering warm moments and shared stories over heaping bowls of spaghetti.
- Effortless Elegance: With uncomplicated steps and common ingredients, this recipe is proof that simplicity can yield the most profound flavors, making you both a chef and a hero at the dinner table.
- Spaghetti: The classic base for our Bolognese. If you prefer, whole wheat spaghetti or gluten-free variants are great alternatives.
- Olive Oil: Gives a rich base and ensures our beef browns perfectly. Canola or vegetable oil can also work if you’re in a pinch.
- Ground Beef (extra lean): The heart of the Bolognese, delivering that meaty depth. Ground turkey or chicken is a lighter choice but still delicious.
- Onion: Adds a savory sweetness that deepens the flavor profile. Red or white onions are interchangeable, based on your preference.
- Garlic: The aromatic kick that elevates the sauce. Garlic powder can be a last-minute save if you run out of fresh cloves.
- Oregano: Introduces an earthy, herbal touch. Thyme or basil can be swapped in for a different aromatic spin.
- Red Pepper Flakes: Adds a hint of heat. Adjust to taste or use fresh chili if you crave more spice.
- Tomato Paste: Amplifies the tomato richness and thickness of the sauce. In its absence, extra crushed tomatoes or tomato puree can be a save.
- Red Wine: Deepens the sauce’s flavor and aroma. If you’d rather not use wine, beef broth or grape juice can step in.
- Crushed Tomatoes: The velvety base for our sauce. Tomato puree or diced tomatoes can also work, depending on your texture preference.
- Basil: Freshness that brightens the meaty sauce. Parsley or even spinach can be used if basil isn’t on hand.
- Salt and Pepper: For seasoning and bringing all flavors to life. Always adjust to your personal taste.
- Heavy Cream: Introduces a luxurious creaminess to the Bolognese. Milk or half-and-half can be used for a lighter touch.
- Parmesan Cheese (grated): Melty, salty goodness that ties the dish together. Romano or Asiago cheese can be delicious stand-ins.
Trust me, making this Spaghetti Bolognese is a breeze! Let’s get started.
First things first, let’s boil up that spaghetti. Just follow the package’s directions. And hey, save some of that pasta water. We might need it later to adjust our sauce.
Grab a large skillet or pot and warm up that olive oil over a medium-high heat. Once it’s shimmering, toss in the ground beef. You’ll want to break it up as it cooks. After about 3 minutes, it should be browned nicely.
Now, toss in your chopped onion and minced garlic. Give them about 3 minutes to soften up. You’ll start smelling the magic happen.
This is where it gets fun. Sprinkle in the oregano and red pepper flakes, then dollop in the tomato paste. Give it a good stir. Ready for the wine? Pour it in and let it simmer down for about 5 minutes. You’ll notice the liquid reducing a bit.
Pour in those crushed tomatoes. Add your chopped basil, and season it up with salt and pepper. Give everything a good mix, bring it to a quick boil, and then dial back the heat to let it simmer. Pop a lid on and let it do its thing for about 20 minutes.
Now for the luxurious touch. Pour in the heavy cream and give it a good stir. If your sauce looks too thick, remember that pasta water? Add a bit in to get your desired consistency.
Add your cooked spaghetti directly to the pot and toss it around, ensuring every strand gets some love from that beautiful sauce. Sprinkle over that Parmesan cheese and maybe a bit more chopped basil. And there you have it! Dish it out and watch everyone’s faces light up.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Spaghetti Bolognese?
Spaghetti Bolognese, often simply called “Bolognese,” is a classic Italian dish made from spaghetti pasta topped with a rich meat sauce. The sauce typically features ground beef, tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a mix of herbs and spices, creating a hearty and flavorful dish.
Can I use a different type of pasta for this recipe?
Absolutely! While spaghetti is the traditional choice, other types of pasta like fettuccine, rigatoni, or even penne work well with Bolognese sauce. Just ensure you adjust the cooking time based on your pasta choice.
Can I make this dish vegetarian or vegan?
Yes, you can! Substitute the ground beef with plant-based alternatives like lentils, mushrooms, or a store-bought meat substitute. For a vegan version, skip the Parmesan and cream or use vegan-friendly alternatives.
Can I make this alcohol free?
Absolutely! If you want to make the Spaghetti Bolognese alcohol-free, you can simply omit the red wine and replace it with beef or vegetable broth. This will still give your sauce depth and richness without the alcohol. If you’re looking to retain a bit of the acidity that wine provides, you can also add a splash of balsamic vinegar or a squeeze of fresh tomato juice.
- Quality of Ingredients: Always opt for high-quality ground beef, preferably organic and grass-fed. It not only offers better flavor but also ensures a healthier meal. The same goes for tomatoes – using good-quality canned tomatoes or ripe fresh ones can make a noticeable difference in taste.
- Let It Simmer: Bolognese sauce only gets better with time. If you can, allow the sauce to simmer for a bit longer than mentioned. This lets the flavors meld and intensify. Some chefs even swear by cooking it for hours on a gentle heat!
- Pasta Matters: Always cook your spaghetti to al dente. It should retain a slight bite, ensuring the best texture to pair with the rich sauce. And remember to salt your pasta water – it’s the only chance you get to season the pasta itself.
- Finishing Touches: A little drizzle of good-quality extra virgin olive oil or a sprinkle of freshly grated Parmesan cheese just before serving can amplify the flavors. Fresh basil or parsley can add a burst of color and freshness.
- Save Some Pasta Water: Before draining your pasta, always reserve a cup of the starchy pasta water. You can use this to adjust the sauce’s consistency, ensuring it clings perfectly to every strand of spaghetti.
- Cooling: First things first, let your Spaghetti Bolognese come to room temperature. If you’re storing the sauce separately, which I recommend if you’ve made a lot, let it cool down before popping it into the fridge or freezer.
- Refrigerating: Once cooled, transfer your Bolognese to an airtight container. It’ll keep well in the fridge for about 3-4 days. If you’ve mixed the spaghetti and sauce, storing them combined is okay for short-term storage, but for longer storage, it’s best to keep them separate to avoid the pasta getting too soft.
- Freezing: For longer storage, freeze the Bolognese sauce in freezer-safe bags or containers. Remember to leave some space at the top as the sauce will expand when frozen. Properly stored, it can last for 2-3 months. If you decide to freeze the pasta (although fresh is best), ensure it’s al dente to avoid a mushy texture when reheated.
- Reheating: When you’re ready to eat, if frozen, let it thaw overnight in the fridge. Heat the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. If it’s too thick, add a splash of water or broth. For the pasta, boiling it briefly or warming it in the microwave after sprinkling some water over it can revive its texture.
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- 1 pound spaghetti (uncooked)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound ground beef (extra lean)
- 1 large onion (chopped)
- 4 cloves garlic (minced)
- 1 tablespoon oregano (dried)
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup red wine
- 28 ounces crushed tomatoes ((1 can))
- 2 tablespoons basil (chopped)
- ½ teaspoon salt (or to taste)
- ½ teaspoon pepper (or to taste)
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
- 2 tablespoons basil (chopped, for garnish)
- Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions. Keep the pasta water, in case needed for sauce.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Add the ground beef and cook for 3 minutes, breaking it as you go, until no longer pink.
- Add the onion and garlic and cook for another 3 minutes until the onion softens.
- Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, tomato paste and stir. Stir in the red wine and cook for about 5 minutes until most of the liquid has cooked off.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, basil and season with salt and pepper. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a medium-low. Cover the pot and cook for about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the heavy cream and adjust for seasoning if needed. If your sauce is too thick add some of the pasta water to thin it out.
- Add the spaghetti to the pot and toss well with the sauce. Top with Parmesan cheese and basil. Serve immediately.
- Herbs: Fresh basil elevates the flavor, but in a pinch, dried basil (use half the amount) will do.
- Wine Substitute: If skipping the red wine, beef or vegetable broth can be used to add depth to the sauce.
- Creaminess Factor: For a richer taste, you can up the heavy cream, but remember, it’s all about balance.
- Pasta: Spaghetti is the classic choice, but feel free to swap it out with fettuccine, penne, or any pasta you fancy. Just ensure to adjust cooking times accordingly.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.