Spaghetti Bolognese is an American Italian classic loved the world over. This Authentic Bolognese is cooked long and low to leave you with a rich, deep ragu that is loaded with flavor.
Simply the best recipe for Spaghetti Bolognese – A true classic family favorite.
Whilst the sauce is authentic, actually the true way to eat bolognese, or as they call it in Bologna – ragu, is over egg tagliatelle.
How long to cook bolognese sauce for?
This authentic spaghetti bolognese is a slow cooking dish but it is worth the wait. The key to developing the flavour is to let the sauce cook over a very low heat for 90 minutes. This elongated cooking time, means the dried herbs soften and mellow into the sauce and the onion and garlic melt into the sauce.
When you add the ground beef to the onion mixture, make sure you use a spatula or wooden spoon to really break the meat down. This helps it to absorb the flavours and gives the final sauce a melt in the mouth feel.
Although the recipe requires you to brown the beef, don’t let it get too crispy as this can affect the texture of the final bolognese sauce.
Don’t be alarmed by the addition of sugar. Most canned tomatoes are a little acidic and the sugar helps to enhance the tomato taste and remove any sour notes.
If you have read any other recipe here on Sprinkles and Sprouts, you will know that I am a big advocates of using the pasta cooking water to create a thick saucy emulsion. That is vital here.
How to use the pasta cooking water in spaghetti bolognese
Once the pasta is cooked, add the pasta back to the pan along with some reserved cooking water and half of the bolognese. This is all cooked together to get the sauce into the pasta. It really does make a difference. You can still spoon a big spoonful over the top, but the simple step of cooking the pasta in some of the sauce will make all the difference.
How many people will this Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese Serve?
The recipe below makes enough sauce for 8 people, if you want a smaller amount, in the recipe card, you can use the servings box and change the servings number, this will scale the recipe automatically for you. (Just be aware that some numbers may look a little strange when scaled down)
Or freeze half for a quick weekday meal. It tastes fabulous after freezing.
How to freeze Spaghetti Bolognese.
I recommend freezing just the sauce and cooking the amount of pasta you need for your meal.
Allow the sauce to cool and then place into labeled pots or ziplock bags. It will keep in the freezer for 3-6 months.
Just remove the bolognese from the freezer in the morning and it will be ready to heat up when you get home in the evening.
You can heat it up in a microwaveable bowl, or over a low heat on the stovetop.
Side: We think this classic spaghetti bolognese is best paired with some sort of bread. Either some warm ciabatta or plenty of garlic bread.
Wine: Because of the slow cooking the tomatoes in this dish can take a big bright red wine. Try a Shiraz or a Chianti. Or go more traditional and pair this dish with a wine made with the Nebbiolo grape: a Barolo or Barbaresco.
If red isn’t your thing then stay with the regionality of this dish and serve this up with a sparkling Lambrusco, unusual but a great wine pairing.
For other delicious Pasta ideas:
- Garlic Butter Pasta with Garlic Chicken
- Cajun Chicken and Sausage Pasta
- Pasta with Chicken Broth
- Shrimp Chorizo Pasta
- Creamy Rosemary Chicken Pasta
- Pork Stroganoff with Buttered Noodles
- Roasted Cauliflower Pasta with Creamy Garlic Sauce
- Pasta with Roasted Fennel
- See ALL 40+ Pasta Recipes
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Authentic Spaghetti Bolognese
For the Sauce
- 2 large onions
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 2 lb ground beef
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3/4 cup wine – see note 1
- 3 beef bouillon cubes – like oxo
- 2 x 28oz can crushed tomato
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried Italian mixed herbs
- 1/2 cup water
- salt and pepper
- 1.5 lb spaghetti
- parmesan cheese
To make the sauce
- Peel and finely chop the onions.
- Heat the olive oil in a large pan.
- Add onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes and cook until they are softened and lightly golden.
- Turn the heat up to high, add beef and use a spatula or wooden spoon to really break the mince down as it browns. (see notes)
- Crumble over the beef bouillon cubes and stir well to coat the meat.
- Peel the garlic and grate or crush it into the mixture. Stir well.
- Add in the red wine and let it sizzle for a a couple of minutes.
- Add in the crushed tomatoes, sugar, Worcestershire Sauce, oregano, Italian mixed herbs and water.
- Stir well and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- 10. Put the lid on and cook over a very low heat for 1 1/2 hours; stirring occasionally.
- 11. Once the time is up, increase the heat to medium and cooke without the lid for a further 20 minutes.
- 12. Taste the sauce and then add extra salt and pepper to taste.
- 13. At this point you can cook the pasta or cool the sauce and refrigerate it until later.
To cook the Spaghetti
- Bring a very large pan of water to the boil, once boiling salt it generously and cook the pasta until al-dente. (1 minute less than the packet suggests)
- Reserve a cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta.
- Place the pasta back into the pan and add the reserved water. Place over a high heat and add half of the bolognese sauce. Stir well until the sauce has thickened around the pasta.
- Serve the pasta with extra sauce spooned on top.
- Garnish with parmesan.
- You can use red wine or white wine in this dish. White wine is actually more authentic, but red wine tastes delicious too.