Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

Spaghetti bolognese – a firm favourite in our house.  Sorry about the steam obscuring this pic – did I mention it’s cold here?

It’s been a cold, wet week at my farm. One of my favourite easy dinners in this sort of weather is home-cooked spaghetti bolognese. When we come in from the paddocks at the end of the day, all muddy and cold, there’s nothing better than a hot shower to warm back up, and then a bowl of spag bol in front of the fire, with a glass of red wine. It’s a great meal for feeding a crowd, or a cohort of hungry workers!

My grandmother taught me this recipe, and taught me that the secret is the slow cooking. I usually make the sauce during the day and simmer it for at least a couple of hours – the longer the better as it gives the bolognese sauce a divine, silky richness.

Ingredients:

500g lean beef mince, 1 onion, 3 cloves of garlic, one stick of celery, 1/2 capsicum (bell pepper), 2 bay leaves, olive oil, 1 teaspoon dried Italian herbs (oregano, basil, thyme, sage, rosemary and basil) *note – if you can’t get this blend use oregano, 1 cup of mushrooms, 2  x 400g tins of diced tomatoes, 1 empty tomato tin of water, 1 heaped teaspoon stock powder, 1/2 teaspoon sugar, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste, 3 tablespoons tomato paste, 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, 1 cup of red wine.

500g of dried spaghetti, and some parmesan cheese to serve. This will give four hearty serves, or six moderate serves.

♥ The meat I’m using is our own organic beef, and the onion, garlic, celery, capsicum and parsley have all come from the vegetable garden.  I’m also using some home-grown zucchini and field mushrooms from a neighbour instead of pasta for my own dinner!  There is something very satisfying about eating food that has been sourced locally, or grown by us.

Method:

Finely chop the onion, garlic, capsicum (bell pepper), celery, mushrooms and parsley. Put a large heavy-bottomed saucepan on to low heat.  Add a slug of olive oil and cook the garlic, onions, celery and capsicum until fragrant but not coloured.  Add in the meat, turn the heat to medium and brown off the mince, breaking up any lumps with a wooden spoon.  Season well with the herbs, salt and pepper.

Add in the tinned tomatoes, tomato paste, stock powder, sugar, mushrooms, bay leaves, vinegar, water and wine. Stir well to combine.  Bring to boil and then reduce to a simmer, and slow cook the sauce, stirring occasionally for two to three hours or until the sauce has reduced and thickened.  Keep an eye on it, and if it looks like it is drying out, add a little more water or another slurp of wine!

To serve, cook your pasta until al dente.  Drain and place a generous portion of meat on top of each plate or bowl of pasta.  Grate or shave a little fresh parmesan cheese over the sauce.  This meal goes well with a crisp green salad and some crusty bread.  You may also like to drink the remainder of the red wine.

Fresh crusty sourdough baguette – perfect with dinner! (And the cook maybe ate one or two pieces with butter and vegemite as a pre-dinner snack…)

My lazy salad is a bag of greens from the Byron Bay Farmers Markets with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Low carb/gluten free option: Grill a large field mushroom per person.  A few slices of zucchini (courgette) are also good.

Grilled vegetables are a great low carb, gluten-free alternative to pasta

Top with the Bolognese sauce, and some cheese, if desired.

I often cook a double batch of the bolognese sauce, as it freezes really well.  The mince is  delicious on toast for breakfast (or lunch), and is also good for stuffed baked potatoes.  I sometimes substitute the mince for the beans in this easy recipe, so that it becomes Easy Italian Bake.  Enjoy!

27 thoughts on “Slow-Cooked Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

  1. I used to love my mum’s spag bol when I was wee and she always served it with buttered cabbage with black pepper on it, I can still remember it now. Mmmmm. I’m going to try your recipe using quorn mince, I just wish I had some home grown veggies to use, but I’m hoping to grow courgettes this year so I might be able to use them for it in the autumn. Lovely, thanks for the recipe, I hope it warmed you up.

  2. Looks wonderful! It must be so nice to be able to use ingredients you grew or sourced locally. Bravo! Just sounds like the perfect thing to eat in front of a fire.

    I like the little pre-dinner snack of bread, butter and Vegemite too :-) I’m all for pre-dinner snacks. If there was a political party named Pre-dinner Snacks with Bacon, they would get my vote!

  3. Nicole, this one sounds beautiful. Spag Boll was my favourite thing before I went vegetarian. I must find try it with some vege substitutes (I am not a big kidney bean lover). Perhaps Vege sausages chopped up if they can withstand a slow cook.

    • I was a vegetarian for many years, and a vegan for a few too. You could try Quorn mince, or a ground up mixture of walnuts and white beans or chick peas for that meatier taste and texture. I used to use mushrooms quite a lot too. Good luck with your substitutions!

  4. Oh so delish! Wish I were there…you made me so hungry! Perhaps it’s what I’ll make for dinner tonight as well…thank you for the wonderful recipe! <3

  5. what do you wear outside when working on the farm when it’s cold and wet? i might need to go shopping! tnx for recipe! :)

    • I am the fashion Queen. Gumboots. Jeans. Layers of clothes so you can strip them off as you get hot, and pull them back on again when you cool down. Beanie. Scarf. Fingerless gloves. Drizabone jacket. Actually, I look quite a lot like a hobo. But so do all my farming friends in this weather. A week or so ago I bumped into friends in town and we all went for coffee. We sat in one of our regular haunts in Bangalow, in our jeans and flannies and muddy gumboots and beanies, and all around us beautiful people sat with their designer sneakers and heels, and their stylish coats and scarves. You could seriously pick the locals. And we were all most un-beautiful. LOL

  6. I live in Florida and it is about 90 degrees but I couldn’t resist making this….was so delicious!! I have been checking.into to your blog for several weeks now and just enjoy it so. Your property is dreamlike, your cooking is simply and full of comfort…love it! I have enjoyed your suggestions on journal writing, crystals, chakras but my favorite was seeing Sokli…so beautiful and fun! Much love and many thanks for your sharing your beauty and wisdom. Xoxo, Kim

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