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Classic Homemade Spaghetti Bolognese – A taste of Italy in your Home

There's something truly special about making spaghetti from scratch. The process, the aromas, and the satisfaction of creating a dish with your own hands elevate the dining experience to a whole new level. In this recipe, we'll guide you through every step of crafting homemade Spaghetti Bolognese.

By Alexandra Ashley February 2024

Finding a person who doesn’t love Spaghetti Bolognese will forever be a difficult feat. Despite its worldwide fame, Spaghetti Bolognese is not actually a traditional dish from Bologna, the capital city of the Emilia-Romagna region. Instead, it is believed to have originated from the surrounding region. Bologna is known for its rich culinary tradition, including dishes like Tagliatelle al Ragù, which is similar to what we now know as Spaghetti Bolognese.

Every family will have their own memories of this dish and their own methods of preparing it, which is why no two spag bols will ever be exactly the same between households. There are, however, some universal tips and tricks guaranteed to elevate your weeknight Spaghetti Bolognese:

 

  • Quality Ingredients: Use the best quality ingredients you can find, especially for the minced beef and canned tomatoes, as they will greatly influence the flavour of the dish.
  • Slow Simmering: Traditional Bolognese sauce is simmered slowly to develop rich flavours. Be patient and allow it to cook low and slow.
  • Al Dente Pasta: Italians prefer their pasta al dente, which means it should still have a slight bite to it. Keep an eye on the cooking time and taste the pasta a minute before the recommended time to ensure it’s perfectly cooked.
  • Salt the Water: Don’t skimp on salt when cooking the pasta. It should be as salty as the sea to properly season the pasta as it cooks.
  • Save Pasta Water: Always reserve some of the pasta cooking water before draining. It’s a secret weapon for creating a silky, cohesive sauce.

Ingredients:

For the pasta dough:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups of ground beef
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: red pepper flakes for a spicy kick
  • Fresh leaves for garnish
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Make the Pasta

Combine the pasta ingredients to make a dough:

  • On a clean surface, mound the flour and create a well in the centre.
  • Crack the eggs into the well, add olive oil, and sprinkle salt over the top.
  • Using a fork, gradually incorporate the flour into the eggs until a shaggy dough forms.
  • Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too dry, add a little water; if it’s too sticky, add a touch of flour.
  • Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Roll out the pasta:

  • After resting, divide the dough into manageable portions.
  • Flatten one portion with a rolling pin or pasta machine, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking.
  • Roll the dough into a thin sheet, about 1/16 inch thick.
  • Once rolled out, cut the dough into desired spaghetti width strips using a sharp knife or pasta cutter.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Cook the spaghetti:

  • Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil.
  • Add the fresh spaghetti and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until al dente.
  • Drain the spaghetti, reserving a cup of pasta water for the sauce if needed.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Cook the Bolognese

Prepare the sauce:

  • In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.
  • Add the ground beef and break up larger chunks
  • Add minced garlic and chopped onion, sautéing until softened and fragrant.
  • Pour in the crushed tomatoes and season with oregano, basil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes if using.
  • Simmer the sauce for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavours to meld and the sauce to thicken. If it becomes too thick, thin it out with reserved pasta water.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Spaghetti Bolognese

Serve:

  • Toss the cooked spaghetti with the sauce until evenly coated.
  • Garnish with fresh basil leaves or your favourite garnish and a drizzle of olive oil if desired.
  • Serve hot and enjoy the delicious taste of homemade Spaghetti Bolognese
Meet the author

Alexandra Ashley

One of our four kitchen designers, with a background in industrial and interior design. Ali is a regular author for our Articles, offering poignant insights into the industry.

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