Spaghetti Bolognese – A Family Favorite

Spaghetti Bolognese - A Family Favorite

Spaghetti Bolognese – A Family Favorite

There are a few dishes which our children are always super happy to eat and one of them is our spaghetti bolognese.  This recipe is my husbands recipe, but it isn’t a strict implementation of the traditional bolognese sauce from Bologna Italy.  Bolognese sauce typically does not have any seasonings or flavorings beyond the bay leaf, a pinch of nutmeg and salt and pepper, and it relies on the flavorings of the tomato, celery, carrot and onion.  However my husband likes to add more nutmeg and just a tiny bit of dried basil and thyme or oregano.  For a truly authentic version, skip the basil/thyme/oregano, and purists would further add that a true bolognese sauce must simmer for a minimum of 2 or 3 hours.  We’ve found that simmering this long does indeed produce a sauce in which the meat is very moist and flavors that are really well blended.

Spaghetti Bolognese – A Family Favorite
Prep time

Cook time

Total time


Recipe type: Main
Serves: 6+

  • 1 large white or yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, very finely chopped
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and very finely chopped
  • 2 lbs ground beef (Costco has been carrying a nice, lean organic ground beef)
  • 2 big or 4 small bay leaves
  • ¼ to ½ teaspoon of nutmeg
  • non traditional version: add ½ teaspoon of basil and ½ teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 cup of half and half cream
  • large (28oz) can of diced tomatoes
  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons Kirkland extra virgin olive oil
  • Kirkland sea salt and fresh ground Telicherry pepper
  • freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano from Costco (a steal at $25/kg versus twice that in the supermarket)
  • optional: a chunk of rind from the Parmigiano Reggiano

  1. Warm a very large and deep frying pan over medium heat and then add the olive oil.
  2. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and saute for approximately 5 minutes, or until the onions soften.
  3. Add the ground beef and fry until it turns brown. Do not overcook the beef and at the end you’ll want to skim off some of the beef fat.
  4. Add the celery and carrot and briefly fry for about 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add the half and half cream and the nutmeg, stir and simmer until most of the milk has evaporated.
  6. Now add the tomatoes, tomato paste, bay leaves, any seasonings and an optional Parmigiano rind. Also add about 1 teaspoon of salt and a healthy sprinkling of pepper
  7. Partially cover the pan and simmer the sauce on low heat, mixing every 15 minutes or so, and cook for at least 1 hour, and preferably 2-3 hours
  8. When the sauce is almost done, adjust the salt and pepper levels to taste and then prepare a spaghetti pasta of your choice (the picture has a gluten free spaghetti)
  9. Serve the spaghetti topped with sauce and with freshly grated Parmigiano, the more the better, and a nice bottle of Cabernet or Bordeaux.

Preparing Spaghett Bolognese - finely chopped celery and carrot

Preparing Spaghett Bolognese – finely chopped celery and carrot

Spaghetti Bolognese - 30 minutes in

Spaghetti Bolognese – 30 minutes in