This easy and delicious spaghetti bolognese is thick and meaty with a rich well rounded flavor developed over a long slow simmering process. Carrot, celery and onions are hidden stars in this and there is the perfect mix of spices and herbs. Definite crowdpleaser and a staple family recipe!
Easy and delicious spaghetti bolognese- the base:
The recipe starts with a soffrito mix. Don’t know what that is? I didn’t either lol. It’s a slowly sweated mixture of onion, carrots and celery and it adds a TON of flavor. It also adds a ton of nutrition, and the kids won’t even know all those good veggies are hiding in your delicious sauce.
The meaty part:
The beef mince is very similar to the same base I use in another classic recipe of mine, my killer lasagna. I use lean beef, and add it to the cooked onion, carrot, celery, and garlic mixture. Spices like all spice, cinnamon and garlic powder enhance the flavor. This is optional, but once my beef browns, I like to tilt the pan really carefully into the sink to drain the fat. Some people think this diminishes the seasoning and flavor but I haven’t had that problem. Probably because us Arabs always add extra seasoning in the first place 🙂
The tomato sauce:
Easy, delicious spaghetti bolognese has to have a great tomato sauce. This comes from a mix of crushed tomatoes (from a can, can’t get much easier), tomato paste, and cherry tomatoes. The cherry tomatoes can be omitted but they soften so beautifully while simmering, I really enjoy them. Red wine is typically used in spaghetti bolognese to enrich the flavor and add a hint of sweetness, but you can substitute that with grape juice, beef broth, or just water.
Fresh basil, bay leaves, and dried oregano are my herbs of choice, but feel free to mix it up! You can use dried basil, generic Italian seasoning, parsley, thyme. Fennel is a secret ingredient that gives this slight fragrant anise like flavor to this sauce- I love it but this is optional.
Time is your friend here. A slow steady simmer, just like the Italian’s do it. The longer slow and steady cook time develops the flavors, thickens the sauce, and sets the stage for your delicious meal. Then, when the sauce is ready, toss with your spaghetti noodles of choice (we typically use whole wheat) and prepare to be wowed.
Finish off with some fresh Parmesan cheese and herbs and enjoy! Tip: this is even better the next day!
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced
- 2 carrots grated
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 4 garlic cloves minced garlic cloves
- 500g or 1 lb minced beef
- 1 tsp all spice or seven spices
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cans crushed tomatoes (each can should be 400 g or 12 oz)
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp sugar
- handful chopped basil leaves
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 beef stock cube
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- pinch red chili flakes
- 1/2 cup beef broth, grape juice, or water these are a substitute to red wine
- handful cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
- 400g cooked spaghetti noodles to serve
- parmesan cheese for topping
- extra basil for topping
- In a large heavy bottomed saucepan on medium heat, add the olive oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the onions, carrots, celery and garlic. Fry, stirring regularly for about 10 minutes or until the vegetables have softened. If heat seems to high, reduce to medium low.
- Add the minced beef, the allspice, the garlic powder and some salt and pepper, and cook beef until browned, breaking up any clumps that form with a wooden spoon. You may choose to drain the beef of its fat at this point.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil leaves, dried oregano, bay leaves, the beef stock cube, fennel seeds, red chili flakes, the beef stock cube, water/grape juice/or additional beef broth, and cherry tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 1 hr to 1 hr 15 min.
- After 1 hour of cooking, check on seasoning and adjust as necessary. You should have a thick flavorful sauce. Remove the lid, and let the sauce continue to simmer for another 15-20 minutes for the liquid to reduce further.
- Serve with cooked pasta noodles (you can toss the noodles directly into the sauce if you like) and garnished with fresh parmesan and extra basil if desired.
For more easy pasta dinners:
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