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Spaghetti bolognese recipe

Spaghetti bolognese recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Ingredients
  • Meat and poultry
  • Beef
  • Beef pasta

Here's a new lower-fat version of one of the pasta classics, a full-flavoured meat sauce tossed with strands of spaghetti and served with Parmesan cheese. There's less beef than in traditional recipes, but low-fat chicken livers enrich the sauce. Serve with a spinach, tomato and onion salad and lots of bread.

4 people made this

IngredientsServes: 4

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 8 sun-dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 250 g (9 oz) extra-lean ground beef
  • 125 g (4½ oz) chicken livers, finely chopped
  • 240 ml (8 fl oz) red wine
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes, about 400 g
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme or marjoram leaves or ½ tsp dried thyme or oregano
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 340 g (12 oz) spaghetti
  • 30 g (1 oz) Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper

MethodPrep:20min ›Cook:45min ›Ready in:1hr5min

  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, carrot, celery, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, and fry for 5–10 minutes, stirring frequently, until the vegetables start to brown.
  2. Add the beef and chicken livers and fry, stirring, until the meat is browned. Pour in the wine and tomatoes with their juice, then crumble in the stock cube. Stir in the herbs and seasoning to taste. Cover the pan and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in boiling water for 10–12 minutes, or according to the packet instructions, until al dente.
  4. Drain the spaghetti and mix it with the meat sauce, tossing until the strands are well coated. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.

Some more ideas

To make a vegetarian sauce, double the quantities of carrots and celery, and replace the meat and livers with 200 g (7 oz) green lentils. Use a vegetable stock cube dissolved in 750 ml (1¼ pints) boiling water. Simmer the sauce for 40 minutes or until the lentils are tender and the liquid has been absorbed. * Minced pork, chicken or turkey can be used instead of the beef. * Quorn, a low-fat vegetable protein alternative to meat, can be used instead of the beef and chicken livers.

Plus points

Chicken livers are a good source of the B vitamins, vitamin A, zinc and copper. They are one of the richest sources of iron – a 100 g (3½ oz) serving provides about half the recommended daily intake. * Combining chicken livers with a selection of vegetable flavouring ingredients reduces the overall proportion of meat without compromising on flavour. The rich sauce provides ample coating for a hearty portion of pasta.

Each serving provides

A, B2, B12, folate, niacin, copper, iron * B1, C, E, calcium, potassium, zinc * B6

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My family's cumin spaghetti bolognese

Who doesn’t have a family recipe for this global staple? The cumin seed in our version harks back to family and the reality of what it is to live and eat in a cross-cultural world.



Skill level

The familiarity of cumin seed makes it one of those spices that you can pretty much use across any cuisine without corrupting the end result. Familiarity matters, because if a flavour is familiar and generally regarded as delicious, then its inclusion won’t startle.

I love cumin seed in spaghetti bolognese.

It adds texture and rounds out the trio of garlic, tomato and basil that serves as the basis for a lot of Italian dishes that have made it into the Aussie culinary lexicon.

Cumin seed is woody and fragrant - it warms the mouth before eucalyptus characteristics draw forward to leaving a cooling freshness. In Ayurvedic tradition, cumin seed is a powerful digestive agent. Another reason to add it to cooking when making rich and meaty dishes.

Similar to green cardamom, I use cumin seed most often in its whole form. Grinding the seed changes its aromatic profile, making cumin a grittier and less pretty proposition. Cumin seed whole is one of those spices that is really forgiving if the cook errs on the side of too much.

And I think a forgiving spice is one to prize in the kitchen. Don’t you?

Cumin top tips

• I don’t dry roast my cumin seed before adding it to the pan. Keeping them fresh when they hit the heat and fat means their flavour expression is less confined and a little rounder.

• Anywhere cumin seed goes, ground coriander can comfortable follow. These two spices are a match made in aromatic heaven.

• Old or poor quality cumin seed will present as more pungent than pretty. Make the effort to refresh your cumin seed every six months.


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fine white salt
  • ½ tsp cracked black pepper
  • ⅓ tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp cumin seed
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • 500 g sugo
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 500 g combined beef and pork mince
  • Fresh basil
  • Spaghetti

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. In a medium frying pan, heat olive oil, garlic, onion and bay leaf. Cook until softened, around 4-5 minutes.
  2. Season with salt, black pepper, ground turmeric, cumin seed and oregano and stir through for a couple of minutes until aromatic.
  3. Add beef and pork mince and cook with the spice on medium heat until the meat is browned - around 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Once the meat is browned, add the sugo and tomato paste and cook through for 2 to 3 minutes on medium heat. If too thick and sticky, add half a cup of water and then simmer on low heat for around 25 minutes or until very fragrant and a little reduced.
  5. Remove from the heat and stir in some fresh chopped basil to taste.
  6. Serve with spaghetti, polenta, mash or as is with parmesan.

Not just curry is a fortnightly recipe column on SBS Food lead by self-professed Spice Mistress herself. It shares the flavourful insights and potential behind a different spice that may be tucked away in your pantries and is celebrated with a brand-new recipe. Find out more here.

Recipe Summary

  • 1 (16 ounce) package spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 slices bacon, diced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons white sugar
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil. Cook the spaghetti in the boiling water until cooked through yet firm to the bite, about 12 minutes drain.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook the bacon in the oil until crisp, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir the onion, celery, carrot, and oregano into the bacon continue cooking until the vegetables begin to soften, another 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Crumble the ground beef into the vegetable mixture cook and stir until the beef is completely cooked and no longer pink, 8 to 10 minutes.

Pour the balsamic vinegar over the ground beef mixture allow to simmer until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes. Stir the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sugar into the ground beef mixture bring the mixture to a boil, season with salt and black pepper, and remove from heat. Stir the fresh basil into the mixture.

Ladle the sauce over the cooked spaghetti. Top with Parmesan cheese to serve.

  • 350 g ground beef
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt
  • pepper
  • large frying pan
  • cooking spoon

In another pan, sear ground beef with some vegetable oil. Season with salt and pepper. As soon as the meat has browned add it to the vegetables and bring to a gentle boil.

Recipe Instructions:

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil for the spaghetti. Cook the spaghetti according to the package instructions, undercooking it by about a minute (it will finish cooking in the sauce). While the pasta is cooking, start the sauce.

Heat a wok over high heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Add the ground beef and cook until slightly browned, breaking up any large chunks of beef.

Add the onion, garlic, and Shaoxing wine, and turn the heat down to medium. Cook until the onion is transparent, and then add the chicken stock.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Stir in the oyster sauce, light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the cover, add the peas, and stir for one minute.

Stir up the cornstarch slurry (since the starch will separate from the water when left to sit), and drizzle the slurry into the sauce while stirring constantly. The sauce should thicken until it coats a spoon.

Drain the pasta, and add it directly to the wok. Toss until the pasta is coated in sauce. Feel free to add some of the pasta cooking liquid if the sauce is too thick, and add more cornstarch slurry if the sauce is too thin.

Serve your Chinese spaghetti bolognese hot!

If you like pasta dishes, Asian or otherwise, you must try some of Sarah’s other favorites like Roasted Pasta Ratatouille , Thai Basil Pesto Pasta with Spicy Shrimp, or Soy Sauce Butter Pasta with Shrimp and Shiitakes. Take your pick and I’m sure you won’t be disappointed!

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Recipe Summary

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped (3 cups)
  • 3 carrots, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes in puree
  • 1 cup milk
  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • Finely grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Make sauce: In a Dutch oven (or 5-quart saucepan), heat oil over high heat. Add onions, carrots, and garlic cook, stirring, until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add beef and pork cook, breaking up meat with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomato paste cook 1 minute. Season generously with salt and pepper.

Add wine and tomatoes. Bring sauce to a simmer cook, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 1 hour. Add milk simmer until completely absorbed, about 15 minutes more. Season again with salt and pepper.

When sauce is almost done, cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until al dente, according to package instructions drain. Toss pasta with half the meat sauce save remaining sauce for next day. Serve sprinkled with cheese.

Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

My first recipe, Spaghetti Bolognese is an experiment as I’m still figuring out how all the buttons and levers work on WordPress. The photos were taken with my old point and click camera, so I’m hoping the new version I post of this recipe later will have prettier pictures. Update: I added a new Spaghetti Bolognese post here.

The first recipe is my absolute favorite recipe of all time. Spaghetti Bolognese would be my last meal if I was ever given a choice!

It’s not a traditional Italian recipe as it morphed into what it is now when it left the borders of Italy, but it’s definitely Italy inspired.

It’s a recipe I make a LOT but the ingredients are always changing. There’s a few core ingredients that always stay and then your taste, fridge and cupboard can decide what else should be added. The tomato paste and oregano are the two ingredients I will never leave out!

I do like my herbs in Spaghetti Bolognese. In today’s spag bol I used oregano and parsley from my garden. They’re the only things besides very large weeds growing in my very neglected garden at the moment, so there’s no excuse for not growing your own.

I can eat this Spaghetti Bolognese three nights in a row before I grow tired of it. It’s so easy to make, so versatile and it tastes ridiculously good!

If you want a pasta recipe that is a little richer, try this chicken carbonara recipe.

1. Ideal Protein Spaghetti Bolognese Sauce Recipe


  • 1 pound lean ground turkey or extra-lean ground beef.
  • 8 large tomatoes.
  • 1 medium onion, chopped.
  • Fresh button mushrooms (optional)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic or 2 cloves, crushed and chopped or 1 tbsp garlic powder.
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning.
  • ¼ tbsp red pepper flakes.
  • ½ cup of water.


  1. Brown the turkey or beef, adding garlic powder while cooking it for more flavor.
  2. Drain off any fat, then add all vegetables and water except the tomatoes.
  3. Cook on low with the lid until the vegetables are cooked through. It can take up to 2 hours, so be patient.
  4. In a blender or food processor, puree 6 of the tomatoes, add the Italian seasoning, garlic, and red pepper flakes. Give it a little whirl after this.
  5. Boil it for 20 minutes, then skim off the water and froth.
  6. Pour it into the cooked ground turkey or beef mixture.
  7. Put the whole mix on low heat.
  8. Chop the remaining 2 tomatoes as you like, and add to the mixture.
  9. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.

This recipe makes 6-8 cups of this delicious sauce. You can make as much of it beforehand as you wish and freeze for later use, as it freezes very well.

Nutritional Information

Calories 151(630 kJ)
Protein10.6 g21%
Total Fat11.3 g16%
Saturated Fat3.8 g16%
Carbohydrate3.1 g1%
Sugars2.5 g
Dietary Fibre0.6 g2%
Sodium588 mg26%
Potassium388 mg
Calcium23 mg

Data Courtesy of CalorieKing

Healthy Spaghetti Options

Of course, you will not be eating this sauce over the traditional spaghetti or pasta. There are many healthy alternatives you can opt for. Here are some of them, as well as some of the health benefits of each.

1. Zucchini Noodles

Also known as ‘zoodles,’ zucchini noodles are one of the healthiest pasta replacements you can choose. Zucchini is very low in saturated fat, sodium, and cholesterol.

It is also packed with protein, vitamin A, thiamin, niacin, phosphorus, copper, and dietary fiber. It also has vitamins C and K, riboflavin, vitamin B6, folic acid, trace minerals like magnesium, potassium, and manganese.

All these wonderful nutrients mean that you can give your body the healthy stuff it needs without feeling guilty about all that gluten and carbs you would eat in pasta. Plus, add some of this delicious bolognese sauce, and you will love it.

To make zoodles, just use a vegetable spiralizer. When fully cooked, you can’t tell them from al-dente noodles! You can also sauté them for a few minutes instead.

2. Squash Noodles

Just like zoodles, but from squash. They also contain a whole bunch of nutrients such as vitamin B6, vitamin C, fiber, and is low in cholesterol and carbs.

Apart from that, you can also eat it on mashed cauliflower, cauliflower rice, or the Ideal Protein Potato Puree. Here is a recipe for one of these healthy options.


Place the onion, carrot, celery and garlic into a food processor and pulse, scraping down the side occasionally, until the ingredients are coarsely chopped. Set aside.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chopped ingredients from the food processor. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the veggies begin to soften and all the liquid evaporates, about 20 minutes.

Make a well in the cooked vegetables and add the tomato paste. Slowly stir the tomato paste into the veggies, allowing it to cook as it gets mixed in the pan, about 5 minutes.

Then, turn the heat up to high and add the ground meat. Let cook, breaking up the meat as it cooks, until it's completely cooked but not brown. Season with 2 teaspoons salt and a 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add in the crushed tomatoes and milk. Stir to combine. Turn the heat down to low and let cook for 2-3 hours on a low heat.

When the sauce is nearly done, bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook to package directions. Drain.

Finish the Bolognese with the red wine vinegar and mix to incorporate. Add the spaghetti to the cooked sauce and toss to combine.

Spaghetti Bolognese

A spaghetti that’s kid-friendly and simply irresistible! This recipe is so easy and delicious you’ll want to make it again and again!

POSTED IN: Spaghetti