Spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti bolognese

From Pasta to Pancakes
Claire Peters

My dad makes the most sensational spaghetti bolognese. The secret is to let it bubble for as long as possible. The Italians cook it for 3–4 hours and it’s even better reheated the next day. Spaghetti bolognese is traditionally a student favourite. I absolutely adore it.


Quantity Ingredient
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
1 onion, peeled and chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
250g mushrooms, sliced
1kg lean beef mince
2 glasses red wine
1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
900g canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons dried oregano, (optional)
500g dried spaghetti
handful cheddar cheese, grated


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat and add the garlic, onion and chilli. Cook for 5 minutes until soft.
  2. Add the mushrooms and mince. Season with salt and pepper. Fry on a high heat, for 3–4 minutes until most of the meat is brown but there is still a sign of pink – this will stop it becoming too tough.
  3. Add the red wine and ketchup, stirring well, then add the tomatoes and oregano, if you’re using it.
  4. Let the sauce bubble on a low heat for as long as time allows – ideally at least 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and drop in the spaghetti, stirring until it is all submerged. Simmer for 10 minutes, or according to the packet instructions. Drain the pasta then serve it topped with the hot bolognese sauce.
  6. Add some grated cheese and eat.

Optional extras:

  • You could add some bacon for a meatier taste. You could also serve penne pasta with this; mix the cooked penne and bolognese together and place in an ovenproof dish, sprinkled with lots of grated cheese, then place in the oven at 180°C for 15 minutes until the cheese is deliciously brown and bubbly.

Serving suggestions:

  • Serve with some garlic bread, a side salad and a glass of red wine.


  • Bolognese sauce keeps wonderfully well in the fridge for 3 days. To reheat, place in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. It also freezes very well for up to 3 months. To defrost, leave it in the fridge overnight and then heat it in a saucepan until piping hot.
student cooking
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