spaghetti bolognese

Beef Mince Spaghetti Bolognese

The richest, glossiest meat sauce you will ever make; this beef mince spaghetti bolognese using ground beef is so versatile and is one of my favourite family-friendly recipes.

The famous Italian Ragu Alla Bolognese (occasionally misspelled Spaghetti Bolognaise) is a dish that few can truly perfect, but I’m going to give you some of my secrets to ensure your success.

There are a couple of essentials to making this dish

Good Quality Tomatoes and Wine – I use Mutti brand tomatoes and the general rule when cooking with wine is to pick something you’d be happy to drink.

Browning off the beef mince (ground beef) + rendering the fat on the bacon – this will add an additional layer of complexity to the dish. And if you can buy your mince from a local butcher, then even better. The quality is far superior and this translates directly into the bolognese sauce!

Factor in adequate simmering time to ensure the ragu has time to develop its depth of flavour. 

Refer to my ‘How To’ Step By Step process below for more details.

And my secret weapon for ultimate flavour? 

Add a rind of parmesan (I add them to a bag I have in the freezer when I finish them) to the bolognese ragu whilst it’s simmering and reducing down. It adds an extra oomph that we all want, trust me!

A couple of things worth noting:

I get asked regularly if you can make bolognese ragu in the slow cooker for example. And the answer is that you can, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re aiming for true depth of flavour. Nothing beats (when it comes to superior taste) spending the time creating a great quality ragu sauce. You’ll thank me for it later, trust me. See FAQ section below for more information.

The addition of garlic is not an authentic addition, but I adore garlic too much to forego its aromatic and pungent flavour.

Suitable for the whole family

Suitable from approx. 6 months old

The alcohol in the wine will cook off/evaporate in the cooking process, so I don’t modify the recipe in this way. But you can choose to remove the alcohol from the recipe if you’d prefer. 

Use no salt stock cubes and season with salt before serving adults (after removing children’s portion from the batch).

I personally would serve this (for Baby Led Weaning – BLW) with either:

Spaghetti (chopped up – although they are slightly more likely to gag with spaghetti

OR

Large Rigatoni or Fusilli shaped pasta (less likely to gag with this option). 

Why I Love It

This is a great batch cook meal; as you can freeze portions for bolognese at a later date, jazz it up with some cheese for a pasta bake or use it in a lasagne. 

This is one of the best recipes to have in your ‘know how to cook’ arsenal. It is universally loved; adults, kids, fussy eaters alike!

It’s easy to adapt to vegetarian if needed – see FAQ section below.

Ingredients

Olive Oil

Carrot, Onion + Celery: called a mirepoix, this trio of vegetables is extremely common. It is widely used in French and Italian cooking.

Mushrooms: I use white mushrooms, but any mushrooms 

Garlic: fresh cloves are preferable, but you can use 1 teaspoon of garlic paste if necessary

Bacon: I use smoked streaky bacon for ultimate flavour (both the smokiness and fat content add to the flavour of the overall sauce). But if you’re trying to reduce calories then back bacon works well too.

Beef Mince (also called ground beef): I use 10 or 20% fat, but reduce to 5% fat to reduce calorie content if desired.

Chilli: substitute for ½ fresh red chilli (finely chopped) if you don’t have any dried chilli flakes

Mixed Herbs

Salt 

Tomato Paste (Puree) / Chopped Tomatoes / Passata: I use the Mutti brand as it really is the tastiest tomatoes I’ve ever cooked with. The Ferrari of tomatoes if you will!

Red Wine: choose a wine you’d be happy to drink! The flavours makes its way into the sauce. 

Ham Stock Cube: substitute for vegetable or beef stock if you can’t find ham stock. I use these ones from Knorr. 

Water

Spaghetti 

How To Make Beef Mince Spaghetti Bolognese Ragu

Add olive oil to pot and brown off beef mince & chopped bacon pieces

Add mixed herbs, salt & chilli flakes 

Once browned, add in all the chopped vegetables & garlic – cook until softened 

Add tomato purée & wine and simmer until wine has reduced 

Pour in ham stock, tomato passata and chopped tomatoes

Add parmesan rind (if using), stir, place lid on the pot and simmer on low/medium for approx. 3 hours, stirring occasionally 

Serve either on top of spaghetti or through it … and may the Italian gods be kind on your soul if you choose the former 

FAQs

Can this be adapted to alcohol-free? 

Yes it can – simply omit it from the recipe.

Can this be adapted to vegetarian?

Yes – opt for a meat-free option like quorn mince, or use puy lentils instead of mince/bacon. And ensure you switch to vegetable stock.

Can I make this in a slow cooker?

Yes (although I personally wouldn’t recommend it). I would encourage you to carry out Steps 1-4 as described, before placing in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours on Low or 3-4 hours on High. Add back into the pot on the stove to reduce the liquid adequately before serving (slow cookers don’t reduce liquid, which is required for this recipe).

Storage 

The Beef Mince Spaghetti Bolognese Ragu is freezable once cooked. 

It can also be stored in the freezer for up to 4 months, and reheated straight from frozen.

It is perfect to batch cook and freeze portions as it can be used for bolognese, lasagne, cheesy bolognese traybake and more!

lasagne with marinara sauce

And finally …

If you have any questions, or want to tell me what you think of my recipe, then leave a comment below!

If you like this recipe and are looking for more beef mince recipes, then why not try my Beef + Broccoli Noodles or Airfryer Cheeseburgers?

The really important question though … are you putting your bolognese ragu through your pasta or on top of your pasta? Let me know in the comments!

Spaghetti Bolognese

This is a great batch cook meal; as you can freeze portions for bolognese at a later date, jazz it up with some cheese for a pasta bake or use it in a lasagne. 
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Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Course Dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 6
Calories 694 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 50 ml olive oil
  • 2 carrots⁣
  • 3 sticks celery⁣⁣
  • 1 brown onion⁣⁣
  • 1 pack white mushrooms
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 pack smoked streaky bacon⁣⁣
  • 500 g beef mince⁣⁣
  • ½ tsp chilli flakes⁣⁣
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp mixed herbs⁣⁣
  • 3 tbsp tomato puree⁣⁣
  • 200 ml red wine
  • 400 g chopped tomatoes⁣⁣
  • 330 ml tomato passata
  • 1 ham stock cube dissolved in volume of water below
  • 300 ml water
  • 500 gram spaghetti

Instructions
 

  • Prepare all vegetables by cutting up finely (2 carrots⁣, 3 sticks celery⁣⁣, 1 brown onion⁣⁣, 1 pack white mushrooms & 3 garlic cloves)
  • Add 50 ml olive oil to pot and brown off 500 g beef mince⁣⁣ & 1 pack smoked streaky bacon⁣⁣ (chopped) with 1 tbsp mixed herbs⁣⁣, 1 tsp salt & 1/2 tsp chilli flakes⁣⁣
  • Once browned, add in all the chopped vegetables & garlic – cook until softened
  • Add 3 tbsp tomato puree⁣⁣ & 200 ml red wine and simmer until wine has reduced
  • Add 1 ham stock cube dissolved in 300 ml water, 330 ml tomato passata and 400 g chopped tomatoes⁣⁣ – stir, place lid on the pot and simmer on low/medium for approx. 3 hours, stirring occasionally
  • Cook 500 gram spaghetti in boiling salted water until al dente
  • Serve either on top of spaghetti or through it … and may the Italian gods be kind on your soul if you choose the former

Nutrition

Calories: 694kcalCarbohydrates: 77gProtein: 28gFat: 27gSaturated Fat: 8gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 14gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 62mgSodium: 687mgPotassium: 1088mgFiber: 6gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 4044IUVitamin C: 19mgCalcium: 92mgIron: 5mg
Keyword beef mince bolognese ragu, Beef Mince Spaghetti Bolognese Ragu, bolognese meat sauce, spaghetti bolognaise
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