How to Make Spaghetti Bolognese: Classic Italian Meat Sauce Pasta Dish


Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic Italian meat sauce pasta dish that has been enjoyed by families around the world for generations. The dish is known for its rich and hearty flavor, with a combination of meat, vegetables, and spices cooked together to create a savory sauce that is then served over a bed of spaghetti.

The origins of Spaghetti Bolognese can be traced back to the city of Bologna in northern Italy, where it is known as “ragù alla bolognese”. Traditionally, the sauce is made with ground beef, pancetta, onions, carrots, celery, tomatoes, and red wine, which are cooked slowly over a low heat to allow the flavors to meld together.

Today, there are many variations of Spaghetti Bolognese, with different regions of Italy and different families having their own unique recipes. Some recipes call for the addition of milk or cream to the sauce, while others use different types of meat such as pork or veal instead of beef.

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to make Spaghetti Bolognese at home, using a classic recipe that is sure to please the whole family.

spaghetti bolognese ingredients

Ingredients for Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic Italian meat sauce pasta dish that is loved by many. To make this dish, you need the following ingredients:


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork

The combination of beef and pork adds a richness to the sauce that is hard to beat. You can use all beef if you prefer, but the pork definitely adds an extra layer of flavor.


  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery stalks, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

The vegetables in this recipe are the base of the sauce and add a lot of flavor. They also provide some much-needed nutrition to the dish.

Herbs and Spices

  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

The herbs and spices in this recipe add a depth of flavor that is essential to the dish. The oregano and basil are classic Italian herbs that pair perfectly with the meat and vegetables.


  • 1 pound spaghetti

Spaghetti is the classic pasta for this dish, but you can use any pasta you like. Just make sure to cook it according to the package instructions.


  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1/2 cup red wine

The sauce is what brings everything together in this dish. The combination of crushed tomatoes and tomato paste creates a rich and flavorful base, while the beef broth and red wine add a depth of flavor that is hard to beat.

Ingredients Amount
Ground beef 1 pound
Ground pork 1/2 pound
Onion 1, diced
Carrots 2, peeled and diced
Celery stalks 2, diced
Garlic cloves 4, minced
Dried oregano 1 tablespoon
Dried basil 1 tablespoon
Red pepper flakes 1/2 teaspoon
Salt To taste
Pepper To taste
Spaghetti 1 pound
Crushed tomatoes 1 can (28 ounces)
Tomato paste 1 can (6 ounces)
Beef broth 1 cup
Red wine 1/2 cup

preparing spaghetti bolognese


Preparing the Meat

Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic Italian meat sauce pasta dish that requires a few key ingredients to make it delicious. The first step is to prepare the meat. You will need 1 pound of ground beef or ground pork, or a combination of both. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the ground meat and cook until browned, breaking it up into small pieces with a spatula or wooden spoon. Remove the meat from the skillet and set it aside.

Cooking the Vegetables

The next step is to cook the vegetables. You will need 1 onion, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks, all finely chopped. In the same skillet that you used to cook the meat, add another tablespoon of olive oil. Add the chopped vegetables and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5-7 minutes. Add 3 minced garlic cloves and cook for another minute.

Making the Sauce

Once the vegetables are cooked, it’s time to make the sauce. Add the browned meat back into the skillet with the vegetables. Stir to combine. Add 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Stir to combine and bring the sauce to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Cooking the Pasta

While the sauce is simmering, it’s time to cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil. Add 1 tablespoon of salt to the water. Once the water is boiling, add 1 pound of spaghetti and stir to prevent it from sticking together. Cook the spaghetti for 8-10 minutes or until it is al dente. Drain the pasta and add it to the skillet with the sauce. Toss the spaghetti with the sauce until it is well-coated.

Meat 1 pound ground beef or ground pork (or a combination of both)
Vegetables 1 onion, 2 carrots, and 2 celery stalks, all finely chopped
Sauce 1 can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, 1 teaspoon of dried oregano, 1 teaspoon of dried basil, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt
Pasta 1 pound of spaghetti

spaghetti bolognese variations

Tips for Making the Best Spaghetti Bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a classic Italian dish that is loved by many. Here are some tips to help you make the best Spaghetti Bolognese:

  • Use good quality meat: The quality of the meat you use will affect the final taste of your Bolognese. Use fresh, lean ground beef or a combination of ground beef and pork.
  • Slow cook the sauce: The longer you cook the sauce, the deeper and richer the flavor will be. It’s best to simmer the sauce for at least 2-3 hours.
  • Don’t skimp on the vegetables: Vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery are essential ingredients in Bolognese sauce. They add flavor, texture, and nutrition to the dish.
  • Season well: Don’t be afraid to use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of your sauce. Common herbs used in Bolognese sauce include basil, oregano, and thyme.
  • Use the right pasta: Spaghetti is the traditional pasta used in Bolognese, but you can also use other types of pasta like rigatoni or penne.

Variations on the Classic Recipe

While the traditional Spaghetti Bolognese recipe is delicious, there are many variations you can try to mix things up:

Vegetarian Bolognese

For a vegetarian version of Bolognese, replace the ground meat with chopped mushrooms, lentils, or textured vegetable protein (TVP). You can also add extra vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers to the sauce.

Spicy Bolognese

If you like your food with a kick, try adding some heat to your Bolognese. You can use hot Italian sausage instead of ground beef, or add some crushed red pepper flakes or diced jalapeños to the sauce.

Cheesy Bolognese

To make your Bolognese extra cheesy, add some grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese to the sauce. You can also top the finished dish with mozzarella or provolone cheese and bake it in the oven for a few minutes until the cheese is melted and bubbly.

White Bolognese

For a unique twist on the classic recipe, try making a white Bolognese sauce. This version uses heavy cream, white wine, and chicken broth instead of tomatoes. It’s a lighter and creamier version of the traditional recipe.

Variation Ingredients
Vegetarian Bolognese Chopped mushrooms, lentils, or TVP, extra vegetables like zucchini, eggplant, or bell peppers
Spicy Bolognese Hot Italian sausage, crushed red pepper flakes, diced jalapeños
Cheesy Bolognese Grated Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, mozzarella or provolone cheese
White Bolognese Heavy cream, white wine, chicken broth

spaghetti bolognese serving


Congratulations! You have successfully made a delicious spaghetti bolognese, a classic Italian meat sauce pasta dish. Now, it’s time to sit down and enjoy your creation.

Adding Your Own Twist

While the traditional recipe for spaghetti bolognese is delicious, don’t be afraid to add your own twist to the dish. You can experiment with different types of meat, like ground turkey or chicken, or incorporate more vegetables, like mushrooms or zucchini.

Serving Suggestions

Spaghetti bolognese pairs well with a variety of sides and toppings. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Garlic bread
  • Caesar salad
  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Red pepper flakes

Storing Leftovers

If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days. You can also freeze the sauce for up to three months. Just be sure to thaw it in the refrigerator before reheating.

Final Thoughts

Spaghetti bolognese is a classic dish that is beloved by many. With a little practice, you can master the recipe and make it your own. So, gather your ingredients, put on some Italian music, and get cooking!

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