Bolognese sauce has a long tradition originating in Bologna, Italy many centuries ago. But the combination of the sauce with spaghetti pasta to make spaghetti bolognese is more modern.
A bit of research suggests that the combination was made by Italian immigrants to the USA and then brought over to the UK.
So when I say “like Mama used to make” I mean my mother. She served up spag bol at least once a week for as long as I can remember.
I’ve tried many recipes for spaghetti bolognese over the years but my wife and I have settled on this one from Jamie Oliver with a couple of added tweaks of our own.
⚠️ Warning to Parents and Grandparents
Spaghetti Bolognese and very young children is NOT a good idea as in the picture!
If you are going to risk feeding it to your child, my wife (aka Nanny) recommends a plastic floor covering and sitting them as close as possible to the bathroom. Also, have the washing machine on standby as the sauce stains are difficult to remove.
Spaghetti Bolognese Like Mama Used to Make
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 onion
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 6 rashers smoked streaky bacon
- olive oil
- 500 g minced beef
- 200 ml red wine
- 1 jar sun-dried tomatoes
- 800 g plum tomatoes ( 2x 400g tins)
- 1 tsp (affiliate link)Worcester sauce
- 500 g dried spaghetti
- Parmesan cheese
- extra virgin olive oil
- fresh basil leaves to garnish
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/gas 4.
- Peel and finely chop the garlic and onions, pick and finely chop the rosemary, then finely slice the bacon.
- Heat a splash of oil in a casserole pan on a medium heat, add the bacon, rosemary, garlic and onion and cook for 5 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
- Add the minced beef, breaking it apart with the back of a spoon, then cook for 2 to 3 minutes, or until starting to brown, then pour in the wine. Leave to bubble and cook away.
- Meanwhile, drain and tip the sun-dried tomatoes into a food processor, blitz to a paste, then add to the pan with the tomatoes. Stir well, break the plum tomatoes apart a little.
- Cover with a lid then place in the oven for 1 hour, removing the lid and giving it a stir after 30 minutes – if it looks a little dry at this stage, add a splash of water to help it along.
- About 10 minutes before the time is up, cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water according to the packet instructions.
- Once the spaghetti is cooked, drain, reserving a mugful of cooking water, then return to the pan with a few spoons of Bolognese, a good grating of Parmesan and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
- Toss to coat the spaghetti, loosening with a splash of cooking water, if needed.
- Divide the spaghetti between plates or bowls, add a good spoonful of Bolognese to each, then serve with a fine grating of Parmesan and fresh basil leaves to garnish.