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A bowl of pasta coated in a meat and tomato sauce.

Spaghetti Bolognese

The ULTIMATE spaghetti bolognese recipe that the entire family will love.
5 from 19 votes
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Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Servings: 8 serves
Calories: 615kcal


  • Stove-top


  • 2 tbs butter
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 3 sticks celery diced
  • 2 carrots large, diced
  • 1 brown onion or yellow, diced
  • 200 g pancetta chopped into small chunks (see notes)
  • 500 g beef mince
  • 500 g pork mince
  • rosemary and thyme fresh or dried (see notes)
  • 500 ml (2 cups) wine white or red
  • 300 g tomato paste
  • 250 ml (1 cup) milk full cream or whole milk
  • 500 ml (2 cups) chicken stock liquid
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt and pepper
  • 500 g pasta spaghetti, fettuccine etc
  • grated parmesan to serve


  • Heat the butter and oil in a large pot over medium heat on the stovetop.
  • Add the diced celery, carrot, onion and pancetta and sauté until the vegetables have softened (approximately 5 minutes).
  • Turn the heat up to high and add the pork mince and beef mince. Stir occasionally (avoid stirring too much or you'll end up with a lot of liquid). Cook until the mince has browned and all of the liquid has evaporated.
    Note: To check if all of the liquid has evaporated, use a wooden spoon to make a gap in the base of the pot and see if there is any liquid there after a few seconds.
  • Add the rosemary sprigs and thyme.
  • Add the wine and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
  • Stir through the tomato paste.
  • Add the milk and stir through.
  • Pour in the chicken stock liquid, add the bay leaves and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
  • Turn the heat down to low.
  • Cover with a lid and allow to cook slowly for a minimum of 1 hour (preferably 2-3 hours... the longer the better as the flavour develops beautifully as it cooks). Stir occasionally during the cooking time.
  • Remove the rosemary sprigs and bay leaves.
  • Cook pasta according to the packet instructions. Drain and return to the pasta pot. Add a large scoop of bolognese sauce and stir through.
  • Serve the pasta with extra bolognese sauce and grated parmesan cheese.


Ingredients Info:
Pancetta - I like to ask the deli for a 200g slab of pancetta and then chop it into small 2cm pieces. Thinly sliced packaged pancetta is fine to use. but you won't have the delicious chunks that you get if you chop it yourself. Alternatively you can use diced bacon. 
Herbs - I recommend using 1-2 sprigs of fresh rosemary and a small handful of fresh thyme. Alternatively, you can use dried rosemary and thyme if you prefer. If using fresh rosemary, the sprigs can easily be removed at the end of cooking. 
Bay leaves - you can purchase a packet of dried bay leaves from the dried herbs section of the supermarket. These are removed at the end of cooking time. 
Wine substitute - while you technically 'can' substitute the wine, I most definitely DO NOT recommend omitting the wine. The alcohol in the wine cooks out as the sauce cooks, making it perfectly fine for the whole family to eat (including young kids). You can use either white or red wine (personally I prefer white) in this recipe. If you choose to omit it, you can substitute it with extra chicken stock liquid, however, the flavour of the sauce will most definitely not be as delicious.
More Recipe Tips:
Simmering time - if you only have 1 hour to simmer your sauce, then that will be absolutely fine. But if time allows, cooking the sauce for 2-3 hours, allows the flavours to more fully develop, giving you the most robust, full-flavoured bolognese sauce.
Serving - you can choose to use any type of pasta you like - such as spaghetti, fettuccine, spirals, penne, rigatoni etc. When serving, ensure you stir a large scoop of bolognese through the pasta so that all of the pasta has been completely coated in the sauce. Then add as much extra bolognese sauce on top as you like.
Storing - store any leftover bolognese in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. Reheat thoroughly before consuming.
Freezing - bolognese sauce freezes, defrosts and reheats perfectly making it a great option for a quick midweek freezer dinner. Freeze bolognese sauce in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Defrost and reheat before consuming.


Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 44g | Saturated Fat: 16g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 4g | Monounsaturated Fat: 20g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 118mg | Sodium: 676mg | Potassium: 1011mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 3279IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 85mg | Iron: 3mg