Spaghetti Bolognaise Inspired By Rhiannon Lambert

For Rhiannon spaghetti bolognaise was the first dish she learnt to cook and I think it’s the same for a lot of people. She was taught by her mother and it’s such a lovely thought to think of mama’s all over the world teaching their children to cook bolognaise. Not to say papa’s cant make brilliant bolognaise too, they just don’t feature in this particular picture I’m painting.

There are as many recipes for spaghetti bolognaise as there are stars in the sky. Isn’t that how the saying goes?

The point is, there are a lot. They are all of course similar but they are also different in tiny ways. A little dash of this, or a small bit of that, this added before that and that added after this can make the world of difference to the taste of your bolognaise.

The one thing that the majority of recipes all agree on is that you must allow your bolognaise to cook for a long time. It doesn’t have to be 3 hours, but it really does have to be at least 45 minutes. This is the time needed to really reduce the liquid and to get the most flavoursome bolognaise, which is key. You can cook a very quick version in 20 minutes or so, it is theoretically possible but that doesn’t mean it should be done. Take the time just once to really let your bolognaise cook and you won’t look back. The good news is that there is very little hands on time with a bolognaise and it’s mainly just bubbling away doing it’s thing while you put your feet up (hopefully).

You can play around and add pancetta, or a splash of red wine, you can even add cocoa powder. But this is my go-to basic recipe and I love it. I don’t think I’ve ever made this for anyone without their eyes widening like saucers and them begging me for the recipe. You can’t ask for more than that from a recipe, can you?

I like mine piled high with grated parmesan cheese and served with a glass of red wine or a beer straight from the fridge. Utterly heavenly. My fiancée is a big fan of the double carb so we do often have ours with garlic bread which is gluttonous but delicious. And the bolognaise sauce itself is gorgeous on it’s own with a side of parmesan roasted broccoli and sprouts if you don’t fancy the spaghetti…

I like to make this amount of mince even if its just me or for supper for two because it freezes wonderfully and I love having it in the freezer so I know I’m only ever minutes away from eating something really delicious.

  • Author: Margie
  • Yield: Serves 4



1 red onion, chopped,
2 carrots, diced
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed,
splash of red wine
500g mince – lean is healthier but the more fat the more flavour
1 tin of pasatta / chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsbsp tomato puree

500g spaghetti

To serve:

lots of parmesan
roughly chopped parsley

Good grind of black pepper


Take a large heavy bottom pan and add the add the olive oil. Once hot, add the carrot and the onion. Season well with salt and pepper and turn the heat right down. You want to cook them for about 5-10 minutes on a very low heat so that the veg is nice and soft but not brown.

Add the crushed garlic and cook for another minute or so. Now add the mince. Turn the heat up and keep stirring. It’s okay if the meat gets a little colour to it. Cook until none of the pink remains.

Add the chopped tomatoes, and then fill the empty tomato carton or tin with water and add this to the pan too. Add the ketchup, soy sauce and tomato puree.

Bring to the boil and then turn the pan right down to a low simmer and cook for a good 45 minutes. Keep checking on it occasionally and giving it a stir to make sure it doesn’t stick or burn. The sauce should be lovely and thick and it should be looking amazing. Give it a taste and season accordingly.

Cook the spaghetti according to the packet although I always do a minute or so less than it advises. Taste to make sure it’s how you like it. I always scoop a mug of the pasta cooking water just before I drain the pasta just in case the pasta and sauce need loosening – it wont always but it’s good to have it to hand.

Mix together the sauce and the spaghetti, scoop into bowls and add a handful of grated parmesan and some chopped parsley.

So easy and so good, I promise.

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