Spaghetti Bolognese

A hearty spaghetti bolognese is one of the great joys of Italian cuisine. Even the name is fun! Bolognese sauce sounds so much prettier and fancier than what it is, which is a hugely flavorful meat sauce. This is family dinners at my Nana Lulu’s in sauce form. I happened to put it over fresh spaghetti this time, but this stuff goes on so many yummy things. Think lasagna, pizza, calzones, baked ziti, and the list goes on. My version has four different meats, three different tomato products, lots of aromatics and some red wine to make it really full bodied. It’s just layer upon layer of flavor.

Mmmm, pancetta. Also known as the Italian Stallion of bacon.
Pancetta formed the flavor base for the spaghetti bolognese. Once it started to render out its gorgeous fat the rest of the sauce came together easily! I browned the rest of the meat in that flavorful pancetta fat as I broke it up.
The fresh tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and basil pureed to form the base of the spaghetti bolognese!
Then I pureed fresh tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, garlic and basil in my beloved food processor to form the base of the spaghetti bolognese! It was so much easier than individually chopping everything.
The bolognese sauce simmering away for my spaghetti bolognese.
The rest of the ingredients for the spaghetti bolognese sauce just went into the pot from there. It simmered away for two hours to really develop huge flavor. It made the house smell so good!

While the sauce simmered, I whipped up a double batch of my fresh pasta dough. Then I rolled it out and cut it into fresh spaghetti. You can see just how I did it in my post about fresh pasta making here! If you are not in the mood to make fresh pasta though, dry spaghetti will work beautifully here too. Just allow for an extra few minutes of cooking time, otherwise the instructions are exactly the same. I tossed the spaghetti with the gorgeous sauce so that it could absorb the flavor a little. After that, I just plated the spaghetti bolognese into pasta bowls and topped it off with extra basil and parmesan to make a truly Italian culinary masterpiece. Enjoy and buon appetito!

Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese
5 from 1 vote
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8
Author: Jeanie and Lulu's Kitchen
  • 1 dash herb infused olive oil for browning
  • 1/2 pound pancetta diced small
  • 1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix equal parts beef, pork and veal
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 large tomatoes quartered
  • 2 whole onions peeled and quartered
  • 2 whole carrots peeled and quartered
  • 2 stalks celery quartered
  • 7 whole garlic cloves peeled
  • 6 whole basil leaves plus additional chopped basil for garnish
  • 1 large pinch hickory smoked sea salt
  • 1 pinch crushed red pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup chicken stock
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese plus additional for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 whole bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 pounds spaghetti use my fresh recipe or dry!
  1. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and let the fat render out while it cooks through. When it is pretty well cooked through, add the rest of the meat and let it brown in the rendered fat, breaking it up with a spoon.
  2. While the meats all cook, get out your food processor and combine the tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery, garlic cloves and basil leaves in the bowl. Puree it completely, it will naturally have some texture. Set it aside.
  3. When the meat is cooked, add the tomato paste into the pot and let it cook through. Then pour in the wine and let it reduce for 5 minutes. The puree you just made goes in next, let that get cooked and fragrant for another 5 minutes.
  4. Now it's time for everything else to jump into the pool. Season the sauce with the salt, crushed red pepper and nutmeg. Adjust to your taste accordingly, my measurements are a guideline. Then add in the crushed tomatoes, chicken stock, parmesan and butter. Give it a big stir and then lastly add in the bay leaves. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer and let it go low and slow for 2 hours.
  5. If you are going to make the pasta fresh, at this point make the dough, let it rest and then get it rolled out and cut while the sauce simmers. Cover it up with a tea towel until you are ready to cook it.
  6. Just before you are ready to serve, get a large pot of salted water on the stove and bring it to a boil. Remove the bay leaves from the pot of sauce. Cook the pasta until just tender. Dry pasta takes about 5 minutes more than the fresh. Drain the spaghetti and get it into the pot of bolognese sauce and toss everything thoroughly to combine it.
  7. Scoop the spaghetti bolognese into bowls and garnish with additional basil chiffonade and parmesan shavings to finish it off. Mangia and enjoy!


2 thoughts on “Spaghetti Bolognese”

  1. Hi Leigh, Love fresh homemade pasta, sounds glorious my friend!!! Greetings to Marc and ALL of our mutual love of DISNEY!!! Cheryl. G O R U T G E R S ….

    1. Cheryl, you crack me up. Making fresh pasta is so much fun and I LOVE it, I hope you’ll give this recipe a try! Greetings right back to you and yours, hope life is good in sunny FL!! 🙂 RU RA RA

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