Deliciously Quick Bolognese Sauce with Rigatoni

quick bolognese sauce with rigatoni 2quick bolognese sauce with rigatoni in a beige bowl

This is the Bolognese recipe you need for when you don’t have the time or energy to make one that simmers for hours and hours. This recipe for a quick Bolognese sauce with rigatoni is simple and takes under an hour start to finish but does not scrimp on flavour at all.
The trick is to really brown the mince in Step 2 as the deep brown mince is where the great flavour lies and it avoids a really bland final dish. Also seasoning in layers is key here too! Season with salt when the sofrito (onions, celery, carrot) is frying, season the mince, season the tomatoes. Adding salt at each point makes a real difference to the final dish.

fork in quick bolognese sauce with rigatoni
close up of quick bolognese sauce in rigatoni

What you’ll need for this quick Bolognese sauce

Olive oil (don’t scrimp on the amount as you really need the oil to properly fry the onion, celery and carrot for the best flavour. The olive oil builds the base of the sauce)

Beef mince (don’t buy low fat here, again the fat is what makes the dish so tasty and it also creates a rich sauce that coats the pasta well)
Tomato paste (I like this one from Mutti)
Chopped tomatoes
Red wine (I like to use wine that I would also drink, rather than cooking wine. Doesn’t have to be expensive but something you’d be happy to drink yourself!)
Rigatoni (or any pasta you like or have!)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to use red wine?

If you can use it, I would really suggest you do as it adds such a great layer of flavour when we don’t have 4 hours to simmer it. If you can’t use red wine, then substitute with beef stock and 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar for the sharpness.

Can I freeze quick bolognese sauce if there are leftovers?

Yes, you can freeze the leftover sauce for up to 3 months. Just make sure you cool it fully before freezing it.

Other pasta recipes you might like

Easy Sausage and White Bean Stew with Swiss Chard
Creamy Nduja Pasta Recipe with Vodka
Pasta alla Norcina (without mushrooms!)
Creamy Sausage and Fennel Rigatoni Pasta
Traditional Creamy Spaghetti Carbonara with Guanciale


Deliciously Quick Bolognese Sauce with Rigatoni

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

No reviews

Such a simple dish, this deliciously quick bolognese sauce with rigatoni will become a staple in your house.

  • Author: margie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4
  • Cuisine: Italian


  • 60ml (¼ cup) olive oil
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 carrots diced
  • 3 celery sticks diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 75g (1/3 cup) tomato paste
  • 240ml (1 cup) red wine
  • 450g (1 lb) beef mince – not low fat
  • 1 x 400g tin tomatoes, crushed
  • 1 cup water (the tin of tomatoes refilled with water is just right)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 500g pasta (I love rigatoni for this but spaghetti, penne, fusilli – anything you like!)
  • Parmesan, for grating


  1. Place a heavy-bottomed, cast iron pan over medium heat and add a splash of olive oil. Add the carrots, onion, and celery. Season with salt and pepper fry gently until everything is soft. This will take about 10 minutes.
  2. Add in the mince and season well. Use a wooden spoon to break the mince up and give it all a really good stir. Fry on medium/medium high heat until browned and caramelised in some places, around 10-15 minutes. This is very important. You want that gorgeous colour and caramelisation or the end result will be bland and uninteresting.
  3. Add in the tomato paste and garlic and sauté for a couple minutes and then add in the red wine and let cook down for a couple minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and water and stir to combine. Bring to a boil and cover with a lid, turn down to a simmer for around 20-25 minutes. Stirring it a couple times, so it doesn’t stick.
  4. While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. When the sauce is ready, add the pasta into the boiling water and cook to al dente. When they still have a bite to them, so before they are quite ready, add the pasta directly to the sauce. Give it a good mix, taste and adjust seasoning. Scoop into bowls and grate a generous amount of parmesan and enjoy!


This freezes well so sometimes I make a double batch and freeze the other half so I have dinner ready in 15 minutes next time.

Did you make this recipe?

Share a photo and tag us — we can’t wait to see what you’ve made!


What do you think?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe rating 5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star