Spaghetti Bolognese | Lonumedhu

Spaghetti Bolognese


Bolognese sauce is a tomato based meat sauce and cooking it for long on low heat is key to making it flavourful.

A few things before we get to the recipe: You’ll need a large pot to brown the meat. The idea is to have all the meat pieces touching the hot pot. Otherwise they’ll sort of stew and turn grey and when this happens the flavor is not going to be the same. You’ll also need canned plum tomatoes for this recipe because they are sweeter than most other kinds and we don’t want the sauce to be too acidic. The canned tomatoes we used were from Euro Store. If you can’t find celery it’s okay to leave it out, and if you can’t find beef stock, just use chicken stock.

Serves: 4-6


  • 2 onions (1 ½ cups when diced)
  • 2 carrots (2 ½ cups when diced)
  • 2 celery sticks (1 cup when diced)
  • ½ scotch bonnet pepper (or to taste)
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 450 grams minced/ground beef
  • 2 tbsp. dried mixed herbs
  • 2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 1 beef stock cube
  • ½ cup water (for the Bolognese sauce)
  • 2 400g cans plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp. salt (for the Bolognese sauce)
  • 1 tsp. brown sugar
  • 500 grams spaghetti
  • 16 cups water (for cooking the spaghetti)
  • 1 tbsp. salt (for the spaghetti water)
  • 2 tbsp. butter (optional)



  1. Dice the onion, carrots and celery sticks. Slice the scotch bonnet thinly.
  2. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large pot. Add the minced meat when the oil is well heated. Break the minced meat using your spatula so that it forms a single layer at the bottom of the pot and let it cook on medium heat for around 5 to 7 minutes or until the bottom is browned. It’s easier to manage if you don’t break it down completely at this stage. Also don’t stir the meat. If you do, it’ll turn grey instead of brown. When the bottom is browned, turn the pieces over and cook for another 5 to 7 minutes or so, until the side now touching the pot turns brown. When the meat is sufficiently browned, remove it from the pot and set it aside.
  3. Add another tablespoon of oil to the same pot and heat it up. Add the onions, celery and carrots and cook on medium heat until you see a hint of brown on them. For us this took 15 minutes. Give the pot a stir now and then.
  4. Add the dried mixed herbs and cook while stirring for half a minute.
  5. Add the tomato puree and cook while stirring for around a minute.
  6. Dissolve the beef stock cube in half a cup of water and then pour it into the pot. Use a large spoon to gently scrape the bottom of the pot to release any bits that are sticking.
  7. Now add the canned tomatoes, scotch bonnet pepper and the meat. Squash the tomatoes against the sides of the pot to break them down a bit. Give everything a good mix.
  8. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible. Partially cover the pot with the lid. Then let it gently simmer for around one and half hours minimum. We cooked ours for around 2 hours. If you can go longer feel free to do so. Just give it a stir now and then. If it becomes too thick, you can add a little bit of water. Also, do keep in mind that the sauce needs to simmer not boil. If it gets too hot and you can’t turn down the heat anymore, get rid of the lid.
  9. Towards the end of the cooking, have a taste and add salt and sugar to your liking. We added one teaspoon of each.
  10. We are going to cook the spaghetti when the sauce is almost done. First bring the water to a boil in a large pot. When the water reaches the boiling point, add in the salt and the spaghetti. Give it one good mix and put the lid on. Cook until al-dente (cooked but still has a bit of firmness). For us this took 10 minutes. However, do note that this could vary slightly according to the brand of spaghetti you are using.
  11. When the spaghetti is cooked, reserve ¼ cup of the spaghetti cooking water. Then drain the spaghetti and add it to the Bolognese sauce. Switch the heat off, add the butter, and a little (tablespoon or two) splash of the spaghetti cooking water, and mix to combine; the butter will melt because of the residual heat and give it a nice creaminess. Serve while hot with grated cheese.
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