Big-batch Bolognese

Big-batch Bolognese

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(27 ratings)

Prep: 25 mins Cook: 1 hr, 30 mins


Serves 12
Whip up a huge batch of bolognese that's fit to feed a hungry crowd, or freeze half for a speedy midweek meal

Nutrition and extra info

  • Easily halved
  • Healthy

Nutrition: per serving

  • kcal295
  • fat12g
  • saturates4g
  • carbs13g
  • sugars11g
  • fibre4g
  • protein34g
  • salt0.87g
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  • 4 tbsp olive oil

    Olive oil

    ol-iv oyl

    Probably the most widely-used oil in cooking, olive oil is pressed from fresh olives. It's…

  • 6 smoked bacon rashers, chopped



    Bacon is pork that has been cured one of two ways: dry or wet. It can be bought as both rashers…

  • 4 onions, finely chopped



    Onions are endlessly versatile and an essential ingredient in countless recipes. Native to Asia…

  • 3 carrots, finely chopped



    The carrot, with its distinctive bright orange colour, is one of the most versatile root…

  • 4 celery sticks, finely chopped



    A collection of long, thick, juicy stalks around a central, tender heart, celery ranges in…

  • 8 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 500g mushrooms, sliced



    The mushroom is a fungus which comes in a wide range of varieties that belong to two distinct…

  • 1½ kg lean minced beef (or use half beef, half pork mince)
  • 6 x 400g cans chopped tomatoes



    A member of the nightshade family (along with aubergines, peppers and chillies), tomatoes are in…

  • 6 tbsp tomato purée
  • large glass red wine (optional)
  • 4 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp sugar



    Honey and syrups made from concentrated fruit juice were the earliest known sweeteners. Today,…

  • Parmesan, to serve



    Parmesan is a straw-coloured hard cheese with a natural yellow rind and rich, fruity flavour. It…

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  1. Heat the oil in a very large saucepan. Gently cook the bacon, onions, carrots and celery for 20 mins until golden. Add the garlic, herbs, bay and mushrooms, then cook for 2 mins more.

  2. Heat a large frying pan until really hot. Crumble in just enough mince to cover the pan, cook until brown, then tip in with the veg. Continue to fry the mince in batches until used up. Tip the tomatoes and purée in with the mince and veg. Rinse the cans out with the red wine, if you have some, or with a little water, then add to the pan with the vinegar and sugar. Season generously and bring to a simmer. Simmer slowly for 1 hr until thick and saucy and the mince is tender. Serve with pasta and Parmesan.

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Comments (24)

triciaroo's picture

I cooked this in my slow cooker and it made loads! I have frozen in portions as I'm expecting a new baby in a couple of weeks and already have a toddler so time for cooking will be limited!
I left out the mushrooms as my other half won't eat them (annoyingly), but I added in a green pepper. I also used balsamic vinegar instead of red wine vinegar (as that's what I had in) and left out the sugar as suggested by an earlier reviewer as the balsamic already adds a sweetness.
Taste is excellent and even my 21 month old enjoys it :)

Frantic Flapjack's picture

This cooked up very well and is a good crowd pleaser.

sabrinaduck's picture


nmh1210's picture

As an alternative to wine I add balsamic vinegar which makes it quite rich. I leave out the sugar when I do this though!

shiningfaery's picture

As well as being a great way to add some extra veggies to the menu it was a lovely meat sauce. I made this as per recipe except I substituted half the chopped tomatoes for passata as we are a saucy family lol. I don't generally cook with wine but added it this time and I couldn't taste it but the overall dish was good. Makes huge amount for us more than 12 portions in my house.

coleyskitchen's picture

Made a huge batch for the freezer. Followed the recipe except for the wine, and unlike an earlier reviewer, I don't think the end result suffered for omitting the wine. This was lovely. Used a mixture of beef and pork mince. I did have the rindy bit of a piece of parmesan left over so I threw that in as I have done before and it gives a slightly richer end result. Excellent!

gill_david's picture

Much better than out of a jar. But harder work. It was just perfect though with Nigel Slater's parmesan garlic bread for a big family get together.

impeed's picture

To A Astley,
Maybe ommitting the wine was the other 3 stars you missed on.
If you dont follow a recipe and change it then you can hardly mark it down. Its your recipe now.

impeed's picture

To Mik
I appreciate you want a recipie for spag bol but this is just a recipe for bolognaise sauce for adding to recipes like lasagne spag bol etc...It makes quite a lot too. So maybe you should ask how much bolognaise should I add to my pasta as you must already know how much pasta you need per person..look on the pack :0).

feebee23's picture

I made this to fill up the freezer very pleased with the results !! Made a huge lasagne and several portions of meat sauce that I'm sure will be great for pasta bakes etc. I'll be making this again as its really easy and the results are very tasty !!

anast71's picture

Didn't add the wine, to try to be more economical, but I felt the whole dish was lacking something. Kept aadding more seasoning towards the end of the cooking time to try to help and added beef stock cubes, but it didn't really work. We are not into rich food, but this was definately lacking something!

pagayeuse's picture

It would be nice if they had included in the list of ingredients the amount of spaghetti needed! After all, it's just as important as the sauce and a useful indication for those cooking for groups.

geraldwhitehouse's picture


annamariej4's picture

Ooops forgot the stars.....

annamariej4's picture

This is by far the best recipe for spag bol I have ever made, now a family favourite!! It's absolutely delicious and so easy to make.

mel783910's picture

The Spagg Boll Ever

jgoodall734's picture

My children are not lovers of veg so I left out the mushrooms and put a slightly reduced amount of veg into the food processor before frying. I also used 5*500ml of pasata instead of the tomatoes. Used fresh herbs (unchopped) and retrieved them after cooking.
Result was brilliant with happy kids and Mum! Sure to become a favourite.

hairdresser's picture

Great recipe very tasty . Will make it again and freezes very well all you need for a quick meal when you come in late.

emsta88's picture

Forgot to a 5 stars

emsta88's picture

Really tasty family favourite. We make this regularly and there's never any leftovers! Yum.


Questions (2)

lizziej77's picture

Hi, if you were to use the slow cooker method, what size cooker pot (i.e 3.5lt, 4.5lt etc.) would you need for this recipe? Many thanks.

goodfoodteam's picture
Hi there thanks for your question, to make the full quantity of this recipe you would need a large slow cooker, around 5-6 L.

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