My 3 Surprises Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

Jill Holtz

May 5, 2021

spaghetti bolognese

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My family love pasta of all shapes and sizes, and one of my stand-by recipes that everybody loves is Spaghetti Bolognese. But here’s a recipe with a twist!

It’s my 3 Surprises Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe – it’s so delicious and completely kid-approved!

3 Surprises Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

This recipe is based on one from Antonio Carluccio’s cookbook Italian Feast which came out in 1996. I checked and it’s not really available to buy new any more but I did see some inexpensive second hand copies on if you are interested.

Once I started making the bolognese sauce this way I never went back. The 3 twists in this recipe may surprise you:

  1. There’s no garlic!
  2. You don’t just use minced beef!
  3. There’s no red wine!

Stick with me, it’ll be worth it…

This recipe will make enough for 4-6 people, depending on hungry tummies.


  • 1 onion
  • A knob of butter
  • Olive oil
  • 500g minced beef
  • 500g minced pork
  • A glass of white wine
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 100ml of tomato passata
  • Salt and pepper
  • Water
  • Spaghetti
  • Grated parmesan or pecorino cheese for serving

I like to use a big cast iron pan as I slow cook this recipe and it just seems to cook best in a heavy pan. If using a lighter weight pan just keep an eye on it sticking.


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  1. Chop your onion while you melt the butter in your pan.
  2. Add a glug of oil to your melted butter and the chopped onion.
  3. Fry the onion for a couple of minutes until soft.
  4. Add the minced beef and then the minced pork and brown off all the meat. This will take about 10 minutes with constant stirring but it’s worth it because browning the meat gives the sauce extra flavour.
  5. Once the meat is all browned, add your wine, chopped tomatoes and passata. I usually rinse out the tin of tomatoes with some cold water up to half the tin and add that as well.
  6. Season your bolognese ragu and bring to the boil, then simmer for at least 1 hour. The longer you can simmer the better the flavour. So I try to allow a minimum of two hours for mine. You can also put into a low oven and slow cook for even longer if you wish.
  7. Cook your spaghetti according to the packet instructions. Drain, then add your ragu sauce to your spaghetti and give it a really good mix to blend it all. Or if you prefer the sauce on top of the spaghetti you can serve it that way too.
  8. Serve with grated parmesan and a green salad on the side. Enjoy!
My 3 Surprises Spaghetti Bolognese Recipe

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