Beef/ Dinner/ Italian recipes/ One-pot recipes/ Pasta/ Sauces, dressings & condiments/ Vegetables

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

7 January 2024

I’ve been cooking for a client via the foundation @thuisgekookt for a few weeks now. My client, Martin, can’t cook for himself anymore and his partner needs some help a few nights in the week to give her some headspace. So I’ve been on the look out for healthy dishes which are easy to prep ahead, easy to heat up and of course delicious to eat. I’ve been cooking quite a lot of Asian dishes, because he love spice, but Italian is also a great cuisine which hits all of the above. This time: a classic spaghetti Bolognese. Made the day before, the flavours are even better. I heard it was a big hit with Martin!

Classic Spaghetti Bolognese

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Dinner Italian
By Saffron Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes Cooking Time: 1 hour Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 3 - 4 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 cans whole tomatoes
  • 500 g ground beef
  • 2 celery stalk, finely sliced
  • 2 medium sized carrots, halved and chopped into 0.5 cm slices
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • 1 - 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup white or red wine (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 bayleaves
  • Pepper & Salt
  • 100 g grated parmesan cheese
  • Parmesan rinds for in the sauce (optional)
  • Pasta of choice, like spaghetti



Heat the olive oil on medium heat in a heavy based pan and add the ground beef and sauté until cooked. Remove from pan and set aside.


In the same pan add some more olive oil and add the onions, scraping all the meaty bits from the bottom of the pan. Sauté until translucent and fragrant, 3 minutes.


Add the garlic, carrots and celery and sauté for 2 minutes.


Deglaze with the wine (if using) and cook for 2 minutes to let the alcohol evaporate.


Add the oregano and the tomato paste, sauté for 5 minutes, keep stirring. This helps get rid of he acidity of the tomato paste.


Return the beef and resting juices to the pan (you can also drain out the resting juices if you want to make it a leaner dish, but to me it always feels like throwing away flavour).


Add the 2 cans of tomatoes, and 1 can of water to the pan.


Turn the heat up and bring to a simmer, breaking down the tomatoes with the back of a wooden spoon.


Add the bayleaves, parmesan rind (if using), sugar and a good grind of pepper and salt.


Stir through and let bubble away with the lid slightly ajar for at least 45 minutes to an hour.


If you find the sauce is getting too thick just add some water, if too watery, leave the lid off completely and let simmer until desired consistency.


Remove the parmesan rind and the bay leaves. Taste and season with pepper and salt if needed.


Turn off the heat and preferably let it rest overnight in the fridge, but of course you can also just serve it straight away, also delicious!


Serve with spaghetti or penne and parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

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