This might be the best spaghetti bolognese recipe you’ll ever make. This classic meal will impress your guests or satisfy a hungry family. Either way, it’s a winner.
When I travel a lot, go out of town, or have very busy weeks at work; I crave family sized meals that will feed my picky eaters but also yield leftovers. If you don’t know this about me by now… I am quite the lunch aficionado.
One of the reasons I plan dinner is so that I can have the ingredients on hand to make totally awesome lunches. I love lunch.
Of course, this isn’t a “lunch” recipe… It’s dinner. But I sure love taking that one serving of leftover spaghetti bolognese in my thermos to work the next day!
I love this recipe because it’s easy to put together, I have most of the ingredients in my pantry, and my entire family loves it. One meal for everyone, where I don’t get any complaints!
It might seem like the recipe itself has a lot of ingredients… but most are seasonings. You’ll need a little wine for the recipe, so either feel free to pop open a bottle and have a glass while you cook… or use that half a glass leftover from a dinner party. The wine builds the body of the recipe and it cooks off -so it’s totally safe for the kids to eat.
My youngest, loves this sauce so much that he waited for me to go inside to get a spoon to help himself to the bowl! So much for photographing the food intact. It ended up being all about him and the happiness he feels around good food.
This bolognese recipe is the real deal. It reminds me of when I visited Italy in ’95 for the first time. The woman who managed the house my school rented for our ski trip (I was living in Germany at the time) made what I thought was the best spaghetti sauce ever. This is as close as it gets.
Unlike some of the other amazing family dinner recipes, this isn’t a quick 30 minute meal. I suggest you cook this on a weekend while you prep your food for the week and are in-and-out of the kitchen.
Don’t be afraid of adding the cinnamon and nutmeg (if you have them) the amount is so small but it gives them that “secret ingredient” taste that tells you “this is the real deal”. If you must omit the wine, know that the sauce will be fantastic but missing “something”.
Make this once and try it out. I guarantee you wish you had doubled the recipe. Well, at least I know you’ll do that “next time”.
Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe
This is perhaps the best spaghetti bolognese recipe you’ll ever have. Try it once, and double the recipe next time.
- Prep Time: 30 mins
- Cook Time: 1 hour 30 mins
- Total Time: 2 hours
- Yield: 6-8
- Category: Dinner
For the sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 strips of bacon, diced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/2 pound Italian sausage, removed from casings or ground
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup red wine
- 2 14oz cans crushed tomatoes
- 1 14oz can petite diced tomatoes,
- 1 cup stock (whatever you have on hand, if not water)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 cup heavy cream, half & half, or whole milk
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped bacon and cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Do not drain.
- Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds.
- Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, for another 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste, stir to incorporate. Add the wine and mix in well to deglaze any “bits” that might be at the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook for about 3 minutes until most of the wine liquid has evaporated and a thick sauce remains.
- Add the canned tomatoes, broth, and sugar and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let it simmer while you go about your business for about an hour to an hour and a half (yes, that long). Make sure you come back every fifteen minutes or so to stir so that nothing is stuck at the bottom of the pot (this is one of the reasons I love a good enamel coated cast iron pot).
- While you cook the pasta (or in the final 15 minutes), add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
- You can add the pasta to the sauce and toss it around to coat, along with 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese and reserve other half to top once plated.
- If you’ve doubled this recipe (I warned you in the post you might want to do that) you’ll want to plate the pasta, top each plate with sauce and Parmesan cheese.
- Allow sauce to cool completely before freezing or storing.